Defence Minister A.K. Antony today called upon the top brass of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard to ensure timely implementation of measures envisaged under Phase – II of Coastal Security Plan.
Addressing the Naval Commanders’ Conference here, Antony said the National Command Control, Communication and Intelligence Network Project is to become operational later this year.
“This real-time link between the Operations Rooms of the Navy and the Coast Guard will surely synergise coastal security operations,” he said.
Referring to strengthening Navy’s maritime support infrastructure, especially in the islands, Antony said: “The construction of additional bases and naval air stations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands is necessary to further extend our operational reach.”
Antony complimented the Indian Navy for checking piracy in the Gulf of Aden to some extent and for ensuring that the menace does not spread towards our waters.
The Defence Minister also complimented the Navy for its efforts towards indigenization of defence production. Antony said 46 of the 48 naval platforms, currently under construction, are being built in India.
“Indigenization of equipment, especially weapons and sensors, in association with DRDO through the Buy and Make (Indian) route is an initiative that needs to be carried forward strongly and replicated in other spheres,” he added.
Antony further said there are some operational constraints regarding conventional submarines, ship-borne helicopters and mine counter measure vessels.
He reiterated that funds will never be a constraint for capital acquisition and will be made available. Antony, however, said funds must be utilized in the most judicious manner to achieve national goals.
The Defence Minister congratulated Lt. Cdr. Abhilash Tomy for successfully completing the non-stop solo circumnavigation on the Sailing Vessel “Mhadei”.
He said “such expeditions bear testimony to the adventurous spirit of Navy personnel to face the elements of nature on high seas. Similarly, Sail Training Ship Sudarshini’s voyage to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Indo- ASEAN relations too is a creditable initiative.”
Referring to some recent incidents having a bearing on information security, Antony said the security environment prevailing in our neighborhood, security of national as well as physical security of our bases, dockyards, ships, submarines and aircrafts cannot be ignored at any cost.
The Defence Minister said human resources are the single most crucial component for any organization and the Navy surely was not an exception. He said top priority must be accorded to provide training, improve service conditions and the habitat of our personnel.
Referring to some isolated incidents of inappropriate behavior by a few personnel, Antony urged the top Commanders to take sternest possible action against those who tarnish the image and prestige of the Armed Forces, whenever such incidents come to their notice.
A major highlight of today’s Conference was that for the first time ever, it was held by “Telepresence” between New Delhi and Naval Commands, thus doing away with physical travel of the participating Commanders and supporting staff. The Indian Navy has thus become the first Service to conduct a conference of this magnitude through “Video-Conferencing”.
The site at Naval Headquarters, New Delhi, was linked seamlessly with the Command Headquarters at Mumbai, Vizag and Kochi using a secure video and data link. This enabled virtual presence of all the participants from various stations at a common forum, thus harnessing the latest technologies.
Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral DK Joshi, in his address noted the high tempo of operations maintained by all naval units and observed that the induction of ships and submarines would be primarily indigenous in the coming years. Naval aviation was also poised for major growth.
He emphasized the importance of human resource development and information technology, in building naval capability. Admiral Joshi highlighted the constant need for synergy and coordination amongst various agencies and the role of Navy in maintaining optimal maritime security.