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New Delhi : Defence Minister Rajnath Singh while addressing the personnel of Western Fleet during his “day at sea” onboard INS Vikramaditya off the Goa coast on September 29, 2019, said the Indian Navy is ready to defend the country against all threats.

After witnessing the prowess and fire power of the Western Fleet first hand, Rajnath said, “I am most impressed to see the professionalism, commitment and spirited approach shown by the brave sailors of the Indian Navy. I am reassured that the security of our nation is in safe hands.” Emphasising that security of India relies a lot on being strong at sea, Rajnath lauded the multi-dimensional approach adopted by the Navy to ensure safety and security in the country’s areas of maritime interest. He said, the Navy’s Mission Based Deployments at critical regions of the Indian Ocean have strengthened the maritime security environment in the region.

Rajnath also commended the Western Fleet, which was immediately deployed in a strong posture in the northern Arabian Sea when the Government effectively responded to the Pulwama attacks through strikes on terror camps in Balakot. He said, “Western Fleet degraded the ability of our adversary and ensured they did not attempt any misadventure at sea.” He termed as most significant the role of Indian Navy to have a credible “second strike” capability as a Nuclear deterrent.

Describing Navy as the key enabler and guarantor of the India’s maritime security, Rajnath said that India’s economic resurgence is directly linked to its overseas trade and energy needs most of which is by sea. “About 90 percent of India’s international trade by volume and about 70 percent by value are carried by sea. As we move towards our goal of 5 trillion dollar economy; the volume of maritime trade will only grow in times to come. Thus, I firmly believe that the role of the Indian Navy in general and the Western Fleet in particular is also critical in ensuring the energy security and economic growth of the country,” he added.

The Defence Minister  said the induction and integration of new state-of-the-art equipment through the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is making the Indian Navy amongst the most advanced Navies of the world today. “Our indigenously built destroyers, frigates, submarines, patrol vessels, and attack craft are a testimony of the industrial strength of the country and the role of the Navy towards empowering domestic technologies and industries is noteworthy,” he added.

On commissioning INS Khanderi, the second indigenously built Scorpene class submarine, launching of ‘Nilgiri’, the first of the indigenous Project 17A frigates, and commissioning the Aircraft Carrier Dock at Naval Dockyard, Rajnath said, “This is an indication of a self-reliant India.”

Recalling his visit to the world’s highest battle field at Siachen at the start of his term as Defence Minister, Rajnath saluted the unwavering commitment of the ‘Siachen Warriors’ to prevail in extreme harsh weather and highly treacherous terrain for maintaining the sanctity of Indian borders and ensuring utmost safety of fellow countrymen. He also said his experience of flying the fourth-generation aircraft “Tejas” made him appreciate the professionalism, courage and bravery of the pilots of Indian Air Force even more. 

During his stay on INS Vikramaditya, the biggest ship of Indian Navy, Rajnath witnessed a wide range of naval operations including weapon firing by the fighter aircraft and night flying operations by helicopter from the deck of the Aircraft Carrier, according to a PIB release.

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