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New Delhi : Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the Naval Leadership on October 26, 2017,  morning, during the ongoing Naval Commanders’ Conference ( October 24-27) in New Delhi. This is the second edition of this year’s bi-annual Naval Commanders’ Conference.

The Defence Minister complimented all the personnel of the Indian Navy for securing the maritime interests of the nation. Taking note of the recent developments in our maritime neighbourhood, she emphasised the need for the Indian Navy to be strong at sea and be ever ready and vigilant to counter any challenge in the maritime domain.

She acknowledged the high operational tempo maintained by the Navy in the last one year through regular deployment of ships, submarines and aircraft from the South China Sea and Sea of Japan in the East to the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean in the West and the shores of Australia in the South including the focused efforts to deter piracy attempts off the Gulf of Aden. Participation in a number of bilateral exercises and the unprecedented success of the Exercise MALABAR with the US and Japanese Navy earlier this year were lauded by the Defence MInister, according to a PIB release.

Recognising the lead taken by Indian Navy in indigenisation and self-reliance, Sitharaman stated that it is the collective responsibility of Service Headquarters, the Ministry and the Industry to promote a more vibrant ecosystem percolating down to the MSMEs to encourage development of equipment and systems in India and to reduce import dependence in the Defence sector, according to the PIB release.

She took note of the critical capability shortfalls that the Navy is facing in ship-borne multi-role helicopters, conventional submarines and mine counter measure vessels, which need urgent redressal to maintain the combat edge of the Navy. The Defence Minister assured the Commanders’ that efforts were on to mitigate these shortcomings at the earliest.

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