Antony compliments Navy on commissioning of INS Vikramaditya
Complimenting the Indian Navy for the commissioning of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said that coupled with the MiG-29K aircraft, the carrier has the potential to become a force multiplier in enhancing the combat capability of the Navy.
Inaugurating the Naval Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi, Antony said, over the last six months the Navy has inducted an impressive range of platforms including the P-8I aircraft and the Goa Shipyard Limited built offshore patrol vessel. In the coming months, the first ships of P-15A, Kolkata and P-28, Kamorta will be inducted into the Navy apart from additional P 8I an advance jet trainer aircraft.
Antony said the launch of our indigenous aircraft carrier on August 12, 2013, is a crucial milestone. It has placed India in a select group of six nations who can design and operate aircraft carriers. “The fact that all 45 naval ships presently under construction are being built in India is ample proof of our indigenous shipbuilding capability.”
The Defence Minister said a major boost to India’s strategic deterrence capability was the achievement of criticality of the reactor on board Arihant. “Once we reach the next milestone, namely commencement of sea trails of the submarine, it would make India only the sixth nation in the world to build and operate nuclearpowered submarines. This would mark another stride forward in realising our long cherished objective of achieving nuclear triad capability,” he said. In addition, the launch of GSAT-7 will also significantly increase our netcentric capabilities.”
Turning to geopolitical and security matrices in and around the country, Antony said, these have been changing and evolving at a rapid pace. He expressed satisfaction that the Navy has maintained a fairly high operational tempo particularly over the past six months. “Despite the extended monsoon, the Navy has remained focused on maritime and coastal security in collaboration with other organisations and agencies.” Describing the loss of 18 crew members on board INS Sindhurakshak on August 14 this year as an unprecedented tragedy, Antony said, we need to seriously reflect upon the incident, analyse it and also draw lessons for future even as attempts to salvage the submarine and an inquiry to ascertain the possible cause of the accident is already under way. “It must be ensured that safety mechanisms are accorded topmost priority and standard operating procedures are adhered to strictly and without any exception,” he said.