Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday lauded the Indian Navy for effectively carrying out mission-based deployments in the Indian Ocean Region to protect the maritime interests of the country.
As the three-day Naval Commanders Conference 2020 began here on Wednesday against the backdrop of India and China’s unprecedented three-month-long stand-off at multiple points along the border in eastern Ladakh, the Minister, in his address at its inaugural session, said that the Navy, by deploying ships and aircraft at major and sensitive locations, safeguards interests of the country.
Rajnath Singh complimented the men and women of Navy for their role in protecting the maritime interests and expressed the confidence in the force’s preparedness to meet any challenge through a proactive response in deploying its naval and air assets.
Amid the unprecedented challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, he cited the Indian Navy’s biggest-ever repatriation operation “Operation Samudra Setu”, which has contributed extensively to the national interest.
Despite the difficult sea conditions and the challenges of dealing with an unseen enemy in the form of coronavirus, the Navy was instrumental in bringing home almost 4,000 people from neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean Region.
Also, under ‘Mission Sagar’, medical aid was provided to various island countries of southwest Indian Ocean Region — Maldives, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles and Madagascar.
Rajnath Singh also lauded the efforts of all naval commands in setting up of quarantine facilities to aid the civil administration in managing Covid-19.
Talking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), he said that the commencement of mission-based deployments in June 2017 have facilitated enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), provided swift Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the Indian Ocean Region littorals and security to the international maritime community.
On the dynamic changes taking place in the armed forces, the Minister highlighted the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff and Department of Military Affairs as major milestones in bringing more synergy amongst the three services, especially in training, procurement and staffing and bringing jointness in operations.
He also said accepting the challenges arising out of the Covid-19 situation, the Indian Navy has continued to progress the operational, administrative and modernisation efforts. Notwithstanding these fiscal challenges, the government has invoked the Emergency Powers to meet the emergent requirements of the services, he added.
On Indian Navy’s proven commitment towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in consonance with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Rajnath Singh appreciated that the Navy has been at the forefront of the indigenisation process.
Stressing that it is important that pace be kept with the successes which have been achieved so far, he said that the recently-inaugurated Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organization (NIIO) is one such step.