Navy’s role is not only vi­tal for na­tional se­cu­rity, but also for na­tional pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment: Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan


The sec­ond edi­tion of this year’s bian­nual Naval Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence was con­ducted at New Delhi from Oc­to­ber 26-28, 2015. Chief of the Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan chaired the con­fer­ence and ad­dressed the Navy’s top lead­er­ship on à host of is­sues in­clud­ing en­hanc­ing op­er­a­tional readi­ness of the Com­mands, in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, hu­man re­sources man­age­ment, coastal se­cu­rity, cy­ber se­cu­rity in the In­dian Navy and for­eign co­op­er­a­tion ini­tia­tives, amongst oth­ers.

Em­pha­sis­ing upon In­dia’s ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion and the pre­vail­ing se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion which de­mands con­tin­u­ous vigil and readi­ness to re­spond to any con­tin­gen­cies in our area of in­ter­est, the Ad­mi­ral urged the Com­man­ders to main­tain high­est com­bat readi­ness of our plat­forms and dili­gent mon­i­tor­ing of devel­op­ments in the mar­itime do­main. He com­pli­mented all ranks of the Navy in main­tain­ing a high tempo of oper­a­tions with our ships de­ployed at ex­tended ranges from our coasts, span­ning from the South China Sea and Sea of Ja­pan in the East to the Per­sian Gulf and the At­lantic Ocean in the West and at the same time re­main­ing fo­cused on mar­itime and coastal se­cu­rity in close li­ai­son with other na­tional au­thor­i­ties and agen­cies.

The Ad­mi­ral lauded the ef­forts of the Navy for its fo­cused ac­tion in de­ter­ring piracy at­tempts off the Gulf of Aden and closer to our is­lands in the Ara­bian Sea. In­dian Navy’s pres­ence and proac­tive oper­a­tions in the area have in­stilled a sense of con­fi­dence in the ship­ping in­dus­try and has been a ma­jor con­trib­u­tory fac­tor in the re­cent de­ci­sion by CGPCS to shift the east­ern limit of high risk area from 78 de­grees East to 65 de­grees East. He high­lighted that not even one In­dian-owned ship has been hi­jacked since Oc­to­ber 2008 due to the In­dian Navy’s proac­tive anti-piracy stance.

The Naval Com­man­ders dis­cussed the nu­mer­ous ini­tia­tives taken by the Navy to usher in E-gov­er­nance for pro­vid­ing greater im­pe­tus to the In­dian Navy’s in­te­gra­tion with the ‘Dig­i­tal In­dia’ ini­tia­tive wherein mea­sures to fur­ther strengthen cy­ber se­cu­rity in the Navy were also ex­am­ined.

The Naval Com­man­ders de­lib­er­ated on the key tech­no­log­i­cal en­ablers for trans­for­ma­tion of the Navy. The CNS com­pli­mented the Com­man­ders for good pace of mod­erni­sa­tion with fo­cus on ‘in­di­geni­sa­tion’ and urged con­tin­ued and sus­tained ef­forts with pro­gres­sive sub­sti­tu­tion of im­ports by ‘Make in In­dia’. Th­ese dis­cus­sions should serve as a road map for the fu­ture Navy till 2030 as In­di­geni­sa­tion, in line with the ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive of the Prime Min­is­ter, is the key driver for this road map. The Navy has been at the fore­front of in­di­geni­sa­tion with 47 ships cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion at In­dian ship­yards.

One of the fo­cus ar­eas dis­cussed dur­ing the con­fer­ence was the in­duc­tion of man­power, as­pects per­tain­ing to train­ing and skill de­vel­op­ment, and wel­fare of per­son­nel. Con­se­quent to 2015 be­ing ob­served as the ‘ Year of the Sailor’ in the In­dian Navy, var­i­ous as­pects re­lated to ser­vice con­di­tions of sailors and their qual­ity of life (in­clud­ing post re­tire­ment place­ments, ac­com­mo­da­tion and hos­pi­tal fa­cil­i­ties for them and their next of kin) were de­lib­er­ated ex­ten­sively. The CNS stated that men and women be­hind the ma­chine are the Navy’s great­est strength and are our great­est as­set and their morale and well-be­ing should al­ways re­main our pri­mary con­cern.

Dur­ing the course of the con­fer­ence, the CNS re­viewed progress of var­i­ous in­fra­struc­ture projects that are in the pipe­line and shall con­trib­ute to­wards ca­pac­ity build­ing. The need to adopt sus­tain­able green tech­nolo­gies, re­cy­cling and waste man­age­ment to re­duce car­bon foot­print of our bases, in pur­suance of the en­ergy goals of our coun­try as also to have ‘zero car­bon foot­print’ were also stressed upon by the CNS.

Con­sol­i­da­tion and strength­en­ing of the rapidly ex­pand­ing avi­a­tion arm of the Navy was dis­cussed. De­lib­er­a­tions were also held on in­fra­struc­ture and man­ning re­quire­ments for new in­duc­tion air­craft, in­clud­ing un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles and en­hance­ment of sur­veil­lance in our area of in­ter­est.

The CNS re­viewed the ‘coastal se­cu­rity con­struct’ and was sat­is­fied with the steady progress made in strength­en­ing the coastal se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, viz. in­duc­tion of FICs, ISVs and NC3 I project. He as­serted the need to re­main ever vig­i­lant and fo­cused to­wards our coastal se­cu­rity re­spon­si­bil­i­ties through proac­tive co­or­di­na­tion with other mar­itime agen­cies and coastal states.

In or­der to have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the navies of the world and share best op­er­a­tional prac­tices, the ar­range­ments for the forth­com­ing mega event, i.e. In­ter­na­tional Fleet Re­view (IFR) sched­uled at Visakha­p­at­nam in Fe­bru­ary 16 were also re­viewed.

The Con­fer­ence also pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to the Com­man­ders to in­ter­act with the Min­istry of De­fence of­fi­cials wherein var­i­ous pend­ing is­sues were dis­cussed. The Ad­mi­ral also re­leased the re­vised ‘Strate­gic Guidance to Trans­for­ma­tion: A Pas­sage Plan for the 21st Cen­tury’, a doc­u­ment which iden­ti­fies the key en­ablers and task­ings for trans­form­ing the In­dian Navy to meet its grow­ing role and op­er­a­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties over the com­ing decades.

In his clos­ing ad­dress the CNS com­pli­mented all per­son­nel of the In­dian Navy for their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and pa­tri­o­tism and ex­horted them to pre­pare them­selves and the Navy to meet all fu­ture mar­itime se­cu­rity chal­lenges be­fore the coun­try. Op­er­a­tional con­sid­er­a­tion should re­main our col­lec­tive fo­cus in the com­ing years, he said. The Navy’s role is not only vi­tal for na­tional se­cu­rity, but also for na­tional pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment, he con­cluded.

Chief of the Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan ad­dress­ing Naval Com­man­ders at

the bi-an­nual Naval Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence in New Delhi

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