Navy to be equipped with modern systems to face challenges:Antony

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Kochi, Nov 24 (UNI) Underlining the growing role of the Indian Navy in tackling challenges to national security at home and abroad, Defence Minister A K Antony today said the force will be equipped with most modern systems to face challenges both in the Indian Ocean and far-flung areas.

Dedicating 'Abhinavam', a new technology complex at the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) here, to the nation, Mr Antony said the Indian Navy had never fought shy of facing challenges.

This had been proven recently, when the Indian Navy's warship warded off a pirate attack off Somalia at a time when the so-called advanced countries had not taken up the challenge to fight piracy, he added.

Stating that the Indian Navy would be equipped well to deal with challenges both in the Indian Ocean and the far-flung areas, the defence minister said the ''Navy is going to enter a field of massive modernisation with the acquisition of new ships, submarines and aircrat. The next few years will see a new face of the Navy to meet the challenges ahead.'' The defence minister also cautioned the coastal states of threats coming from the sea. The country's security faced challenges not only from across the Himalayas but also from the sea route, he added.

Reiterating the UPA Government's commitment to indigenisation of defence equipment, Mr Antony said the country presently depended on overseas suppliers for almost 70 per cent of its defence equipment.

''Our endeavour is to produce at least 70 per cent of our requirements in India itself,'' he added.

Speaking of the 'Abhinav' complex, Mr Antony said it would help the NPOL scientists to pursue research in coastal surveillance systems, nano materials for hydrophones and sensor devices and acoustic imaging.

Describing the 'Abhinav' technology complex as a landmark effort in developing world class sonar systems, the minister said the infrastructure at the complex to test transducers, carry sonar simulation studies and archive ocean data was impressive.

Stating that the NPOL's efforts had made the country self-reliant in ship sonar and submarine sonar technology, Mr Antony said based on NPOL's design, the Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), Bangalore, had produced nine sonar systems and more than 50 installations, to the tune of Rs 650 crore, had been completed.

As the Navy's expansion plans were bound to lead to rising demand, the government had decided to set up a unit of the BEL close to the NPOL, he added.

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