Indian Navy aiming for technological self-reliance: Admiral Soni

Kochi, May 3 (IANS) The Indian Navy is committed to promoting self-reliance in military technology to help sustain the country’s economic growth, a top naval commander said here Friday.

“The momentous economic growth of the nation has to be sustained by suitable security measures. Accordingly, the Maritime Capabilities Perspective Plan lays down a force level of 200 ships, 600 aircraft and about 20 submarines apart from shore based assets and infrastructure,” said Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command, inaugurating a seminar organised by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

While lauding BEL for its customer engagement initiative, Vice Admiral Soni sought good waterfront support infrastructure backed by a sound fault finding and repair system as well as adequate spares inventory.

India is heavily dependent on sea-borne trade, as 90 percent of its total trade by volume is transported through waterways. It also has to keep track of its vast Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ), slated to go up to 2.54 million sq km from the present two million sq km, apart from off-shore oil and gas assets.

BEL chairman and managing director Anil Kumar, who delivered the keynote address at the seminar, said his organisation was proud to partner the Indian Navy’s blue water aspirations.

“Three new SBUs for missiles, satellites and communication systems have been set up. Coastal Surveillance System project by BEL has already been commissioned in Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra. BEL is also involved in setting up similar infrastructure at Mauritius and the Seychelles. Product support Centre for NPOL, Cochin Shipyard and Naval Ship Repair Yard Kochi is already functioning from here,” said Kumar.

Blue-water navy refers to a maritime force capable of sustained operation across open oceans, project power from the home country and usually includes one or more aircraft carriers.

The Indian Navy is bolstering its blue water capabilities, strategically positioning itself to realise the country’s stated aspiration to command a dominant role in the Indian Ocean.

Vice Admiral Soni later opened an exhibition showcasing various BEL products such as communication equipment, night vision devices, modern commando information systems and other electronics intensive hardware.

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