Navy a Potential Tool for Military Diplomacy: Def Min
The Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has said that apart from being the primary instrument and manifestation of nation’s maritime power, the Indian Navy has also established itself as a potential tool for military diplomacy. “The Navy has been playing an important role in furthering our national and foreign policy objectives through active cooperation and engagement with not just IOR littorals, but maritime nations across the globe,” she said while inaugurating the first edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi.
The minister has expressed satisfaction with which the Indian Navy has continued to maintain a high operational tempo through regular deployment of ships, submarines, and aircraft in the Areas of Responsibility (AOR). “I am confident that Navy's Maritime Domain Awareness in our Areas of Interests will enable it to respond effectively to the various contingencies, such as Search and Rescue, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and anti-piracy. I am glad that the efforts have already started showing results, with the Indian Navy responding proactively to numerous crisis situations around the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in the last few months,” she said.
Sitharaman has also said that India and the Indian Navy have emerged as the first port of call and a dependable partner for IOR littoral navies, to address their maritime security needs. Stressing on indigenisation and self-reliance, she has said that shipbuilding projects worth over Rs 32,000 crore have been tendered and were progressing towards contract conclusion.
“Projects worth Rs 760 crore for construction of yard crafts are also being targeted for early conclusion through private and small shipyards, to bolster the 'Make in India' initiative and provide the necessary impetus to the Indian shipbuilding industry. Programme ‘Samudrika’, which will result in achieving 100 percent indigenisation of the Electronic Warfare fit onboard Indian Naval Platforms, is also reflective of Indian Navy's continued efforts towards indigenisation,” she added.
The biennial conference has reviewed the Navy’s new Mission-Based Deployments philosophy aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region. The new deployment philosophy, in furtherance of the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), aims at sustained, peaceful, and yet responsive presence of Indian Naval ships in critical areas and choke points.
The Commanders have deliberated on the optimal utilisation of the Navy’s share of the defence budget through prioritising capital acquisitions and modernisation plans to bridge critical capability gaps.