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Nirmala Sitharaman hints at a strong Navy and economic prosperity

Taking strong note of the critical capability shortfalls being faced by the Indian Navy in ship-borne multi-role helicopters, conventional submarines and mine counter measure vessels, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that “these issues were being given due impetus and efforts were in hand to mitigate these shortcomings at the earliest”, an Indian Navy release said.

Ms Sitharaman was addressing the naval leadership during the ongoing four-day-long Naval Commanders’ Conference being held in the national capital.

The minister, while acknowledging the recent developments in India’s maritime neighbourhood, praised “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”.

Drawing a connection between a strong Navy and economic prosperity, she said that “maritime interests of a nation have a vital relationship with its economic growth and these shall be protected at all costs by ensuring a strong and credible Indian Navy”.

Ms Sitharaman also commended the efforts of the Navy to constructively engage with the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) littorals to build their capacities and enhance their capabilities.

She also mentioned the initiatives taken by the Indian Navy to impart practical training for naval personnel from IOR littoral nations on a regular basis.

“Institutionalising a full-fledged regional-forum to help find collective solutions to matters maritime in the IOR and facilitate projection of India’s and Indian Navy’s strategic and operational vision to a wider regional and global audience through the ‘Goa Maritime Conclave’ to be held early next month was also praised by the minister,” the release said.


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