Kochi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the operational capabilities of the Indian Navy during the Naval Commanders’ Conference held aboard India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant here on Monday.
He interacted with the Naval Commanders and witnessed the operational demonstrations at sea, highlighting the Navy’s capability to undertake multi-dimensional missions towards safeguarding the maritime interests of the country, a release said.
In his address to the Commanders, he lauded the Navy for standing firm and protecting national interests with courage &dedication. He exhorted them to continue focussing on futuristic capability development to effectively overcome the emerging security challenges in the maritime domain.
“Future conflicts will be unpredictable. The constantly-evolving world order has forced everyone to re-strategise. Constant vigil on the Northern & Western borders as well as the entire coastline must be maintained. We need to be ready to deal with all future challenges,” he said.
Rajnath Singh described secured borders as the first requirement to ensure social and economic progress, asserting that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, is moving forward in ‘Amrit Kaal’ with renewed thrust & zeal to achieve this objective.
Emphasising that economic prosperity and security scenario go hand-in-hand, he pointed out that the defence sector has emerged as a major demand creator, which has been boosting the economy and ensuring the country’s development.
“In the next 5-10 years, orders worth over USD 100 billion are expected to be placed through the defence sector and it will become a major partner in the economic development of the country. Today, our defence sector is on the runway, soon when it takes off, it will transform the country’s economy. If we want to see India among the top economic powers of the world by the end of ‘Amrit Kaal’, we need to take bold steps towards becoming a defence superpower,” he said.
Rajnath Singh also made special mention of the credible and responsive presence of the Navy in the Indian Ocean Region. He stated that Mission-Based Deployments of the Navy have strengthened India’s position as a ‘Preferred Security Partner’ of friendly foreign countries in the region.
He reiterated the need for a huge country like India to be completely self-reliant and not dependant on others for its security. He listed out numerous steps taken by the Government to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence, including notification of four Positive Indigenisation Lists, increase in FDI limit and creating a favourable environment for Indian vendors including MSMEs.
He termed the recent announcement of earmarking record 75% of the defence capital procurement budget for domestic industry in 2023-24 as a testament to the Government’s firm commitment to achieve self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
Rajnath Singh commended the Navy for being at the forefront of indigenisation and innovation through inductions of ships & submarines and development of niche technologies, in consonance with the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ vision.
On the commissioning of INS Vikrant, he stated that it further reinforced the belief that India’s Naval designing and development is at a promising stage and more progress will be made in the times to come.
The operational demonstrations witnessed by the Raksha Mantri included complex Aircraft Carrier and Fleet operations, weapon firings by ships & aircraft and Underway Replenishment at Sea.
In addition, a demonstration of indigenous products, including spotter drone, fire-fighting bot was witnessed by the Raksha Mantri. The strides taken by the Indian Navy towards ‘pole-vaulting’ the technological curve, through indigenous sources in the domains of Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Laser technology and cryptography were also demonstrated.