Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Indian Navy: Full steam ahead

By Chaitali Bag

Indian Navy Day is celebrated every December 4th. It commemorates the Indian flotilla’s attack on Karachi harbour during the 1971 war against Pakistan. The day also honours the courage and sacrifice of the Indian Navy in safeguarding the nation’s maritime borders and its vast coastline.

A day for thanksgiving lest we forget in peace their service the official event will be at Sindhudurg Seafort in Maharashtra.

The theme for Indian Navy Day 2023 is “Operational Efficiency, Readiness, and Mission Accomplishment in the Maritime Domain”.

These facets highlight the Indian Navy’s dedication to maintaining operational efficiency, preparedness, and ensuring the nation’s security by protecting it against maritime threats.

Addressing the media to mark the occasion India’s Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar highlighted the achievements of Bhartiya Nausena of the past year and announced several new initiatives for the future.

He underscored the Navy having maintained a high operational tempo, undertaking missions and tasks encompassing military, diplomatic, contemporary, and benign roles.

Indian vessels are deployed across the Indian Ocean region and even beyond to protect and promote national interests. These extensive deployments, coupled with a large number of exercises at sea, have enabled the Navy to remain combat-ready, credible, cohesive, and set itself as a future-proof force.

On the operations front, the sheer magnitude of the deployments has been satisfying. Ships have been persistently present across the Indo-Pacific region, and submarines have undertaken operational turnarounds at foreign ports including Oman, Australia, Indonesia, and ME. The naval fleet air arm’s aircraft have operated from equally distant airfields at Mauritius, Seychelles, Darwin, and the Cocoa scaling islands.

In defense, the Economic Survey Report of 2022 23 has acknowledged the Navy’s role in providing substantial impetus to the Indian shipbuilding industry.

The Navy has retained its focus on fostering R and D in niche technologies. The second edition of the Swavlamban seminar sought answers to 25 challenges, receiving more than 1000 responses this year. Over 100 technological development agreements between IDEX and industry were concluded thereby driving self-reliance and technology development.

Bhartiya Nausena is setting its course as per its allocated budget optimization, with the capital budget crossing the 50,000-crore mark, showing a 26% hike in the revenue budget. Human resource development is a critical aspect related to capability accretion. The implementation of Agnipath has been a much-needed transformational change, with the first batch of Agniveers graduating from the premier training establishment INS Chilka in March this year.

The Navy has also appointed the first woman commanding officer of an Indian naval ship. The force has taken the lead in organizing and conducting the International G 20 The Indian Navy Quest competition, which aims to build bridges of friendship across the ocean.

Its vision now is to be fully Atmanirbhar by 2047, focusing on rapid technology, advancements, and proliferation. The Navy will pursue niche and disruptive technologies through R&D through IDex, NIO, and other initiatives.

As India transitions to become a fully developed country by 2047, an export-based economy will be a prime mover, with vast volumes of these exports facilitated by the seas across the world. As India grows, its maritime interests and investments will expand proportionately, necessitating expansion in the Indian Navy’s responsibilities and operational footprints to protect these interests.

On this occasion, the Admiral acknowledged the support received from  Prime Minister Modi, the Raksha Matri, Shri Rajnath Singhji, the Defence Secretary, Secretary DMA, and all officials of the Ministry of Defence.


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