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PM calls for strengthening naval capability

By Staff
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On Board INS Virat, May 6 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has advocated the need for strengthening the naval capability to help India emerge as an economic powerhouse in the world.

Addressing the Western Fleet, Dr Singh said all great powers have also been great trading nations and India should have a strong maritime capability to achieve the status.

Quoting late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Singh said, ''to be secure on land we must be supreme at sea.'' He said the importance of strengthening the naval capability was evident as the Indian Ocean region was amongst the most important seaways of the world and all major economic regions of the world were dependent on trade and energy through the sea-lanes.

The Prime Minister said India was heavily dependent on sea-borne trade as 90 per cent of trade by volume and 75 per cent by value is transported by sea and 85 per cent of the country's oil requirements are also imported by sea routes.

He also pointed out that a major portion of India's own oil and gas assets are off shore, requiring round the clock protection.

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