Addressing the Naval Commanders Conference, Antony said, “We have a well-established material and training assistance programme with Indian Ocean Region countries for their capacity-building and enhancement. Today, the security situation in our immediate neighbourhood has become really complex. Considering the challenges in the Indian Ocean Region, it is essential to maintain high levels of operational preparedness at all times."
He further said: "On the one hand, there are some political developments, and on the other hand, a number of other factors are a cause for worry and need to be factored into our preparations, both in the short-term and long-term."
Expressing confidence in the ability of the Navy, Antony observed that our strategic location in the Indian Ocean coupled with the professional capability of the Navy means the country can well play a leading role in ensuring peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region.
“The security of maritime activity through the sea-lanes in Indian Ocean is of crucial importance for the economic prosperity of our nation and that of the world. The free movement of trade and energy supplies and various economic activities such as fishing and extraction of mineral resources is equally crucial for economic security,” he stressed.
As for the Navy’s modernization programme, the Defence Minister noted that the induction of the nuclear powered submarine INS Chakra has ushered in a new era of submarine operations. He disclosed that the Navy is on course to acquire potent platforms to add to its blue water capability.
He added, "The induction of Vikramaditya in the near future, the potent MiG 29 Ks, as well as P81 long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft would strengthen the Navy further. Recently, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA-Navy) made its successful maiden flight."