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New Delhi : Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on October 22, 2019, addressed the Naval Commanders’ Conference here and expressed his pleasure in meeting the senior leadership of the Navy. Rajnath stated that after visiting various naval ships, submarines and establishments, including IMAC (Information Management and Analysis Centre), and having witnessed a wide range of naval operations at Sea, he is confident that the Indian Navy will continue to perform the duty of safeguarding the maritime interests of the nation.

Rajnath said for Indian economy to reach the Five Trillion Dollar mark by 2025 there is a requirement for a stable and balanced environment in which Navy has a crucial role to play in the form of safeguarding the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) – the economic lifeline. He noted that it was heartening to see the swift and calibrated manner in which the Navy launched ‘Operation Sankalp’ in the wake of the incidents involving attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June this year. Escorting Indian Flagged Merchant Vessels through this energy lifeline of the country during ‘Operation Sankalp’, the Navy has emphatically reiterated its ability to defend India’s critical national interest.

Speaking on Global terrorism, Rajnath stated that it continues to be a challenge for all security forces and that sea routes have their own vulnerability. Post 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Navy has made concerted efforts to strengthen security and stability of our waters and coastal regions, and enhance inter-agency cooperation and coordination. He urged the Naval Commanders to continue reviewing procedures and strengthen the Coastal Security framework to counter emerging threats and challenges, effectively, according to a PIB release.

He said that the Navy’s Anti-Piracy Patrol duties in the Gulf of Aden since 2008, have been successful in safeguarding our maritime interests, and contributed immensely in maintaining maritime security of the region. The Defence Minister said that the Indian Navy has also established itself as a vital tool for military diplomacy furthering the national and foreign policy objectives through active cooperation and engagement with not just Indian Ocean Region nations, but maritime nations across the globe.

Rajnath said that he had commissioned INS Khanderi and witnessed the launch of Nilgiri last month. These platforms bear testimony to the self-reliance in warship building that the nation has achieved. He emphasised on the need to increase the indigenous content with respect to complex machinery and cutting-edge weapons and sensors urging all stakeholders to put in all-out efforts on these fronts.

Speaking on the announcement by PM Narendra Modi on the CDS (Chief of Defence Staff), Rajnath stated that this would also improve the overall coordination amongst the three services.

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