Naval Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence

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The bian­nual Naval Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence 02/2016 was held un­der the aegis of In­te­grated Head­quar­ters, Min­istry of De­fence (Navy) from Oc­to­ber 25 to 27, 2016. Dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion, Rak­sha Mantri ad­dress­ing the Naval Com­man­ders com­pli­mented all per­son­nel of the In­dian Navy for en­sur­ing mar­itime se­cu­rity of the coun­try. Tak­ing note of the wide ex­panse of naval ac­tiv­i­ties spread across the oceans, he ap­pre­ci­ated the high tempo of op­er­a­tions sus­tained in the last six months and ef­forts put in for mar­itime se­cu­rity and coastal se­cu­rity in the ar­eas of in­ter­est of the coun­try. The Rak­sha Mantri also re­viewed the pace of mod­erni­sa­tion of the In­dian Navy, progress of var­i­ous ac­qui­si­tion and in­fra­struc­ture re­lated cases.

Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), presided over the three-day con­fer­ence which was his first af­ter as­sum­ing the of­fice on May 31, 2016. He ad­dressed the Naval Com­man­ders on var­i­ous im­por­tant is­sues per­tain­ing to op­er­a­tional readi­ness, ca­pa­bil­ity en­hance­ment, in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and hu­man re­source man­age­ment, all cru­cial im­por­tance for the In­dian Navy. Com­ing in the close af­ter­math of re­cent events, the con­fer­ence pro­vided an in­valu­able op­por­tu­nity for the top-level lead­er­ship of the In­dian Navy to re­view the op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment and readi­ness of the mar­itime forces to deal with the en­tire range of pre­vail­ing as well as emerg­ing chal­lenges and threats. Such a re­view at the macro level is un­der­taken for the mid-course cor­rec­tion, if deemed nec­es­sary for the charted course to be pur­sued in a pro­fi­cient man­ner.

As is cus­tom­ary, the con­fer­ence, held over three days, de­lib­er­ated upon the ever-in­creas­ing dy­namism in the mar­itime do­main, es­pe­cially in In­dia’s neigh­bour­hood, and the en­hanced range of task­ing and con­se­quen­tial ex­pec­ta­tions thereof from the In­dian Navy. The de­lib­er­a­tions dur­ing the con­fer­ence en­com­passed a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of op­er­a­tional pre­pared­ness, train­ing and re­source avail­abil­ity to ef­fi­ciently carry out the roles, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and mis­sion as­signed to the In­dian Navy. Com­man­ders also took stock of the progress achieved in in­te­grat­ing newly in­ducted state-of-the-art naval plat­forms into the over­all op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil- ity and their de­ploy­ment as force mul­ti­pli­ers in any fu­ture sce­nario. The CNS also re­viewed the progress of var­i­ous in­fra­struc­ture projects that are in the pipe­line and shall be vi­tal to con­trib­ute to­wards ca­pac­ity build­ing.

Coastal se­cu­rity con­struct was de­lib­er­ated and re­viewed dur­ing the con­fer­ence. The CNS ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion over the steady progress made in strength­en­ing the coastal se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, viz. in­duc­tion of fast in­ter­cep­tor crafts, im­me­di­ate sup­port ves­sels 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 con­sid­er­ing the in­creas­ing va­ri­ety of asym­met­ric threats.

One of the fo­cus ar­eas dis­cussed dur­ing the con­fer­ence was the in­duc­tion of man­power, as­pects per­tain­ing to train­ing and skill de­vel­op­ment, and wel­fare of all per­son­nel. Con­se­quent to 2016 be­ing ob­served as the ‘ Year of the Civil­ian Per­son­nel’ in the In­dian Navy, progress of var­i­ous pol­icy ini­tia­tives taken to­wards en­hanc­ing trans­parency in per­son­nel poli­cies and im­prov­ing the ‘ ease of do­ing busi­ness’ in the ser­vice were also re­viewed.

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 well­be­ing should al­ways re­main our pri­mary con­cern. The dis­cus­sions also fo­cused on the fu­ture road map for em­ploy­ment of women in the Navy. The con­fer­ence also pro­vided the Naval Com­man­ders an op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­act with Min­istry of De­fence of­fi­cials and De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion wherein a range of is­sues were dis­cussed.

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 In­dian Navy to meet all fu­ture mar­itime se­cu­rity chal­lenges be­fore the coun­try. Com­bat readi­ness should re­main our col­lec­tive fo­cus at any given time and op­er­a­tional ef­fec­tive­ness should be the touch­stone of all our ef­forts, he said. The Navy’s role is not only vi­tal for na­tional se­cu­rity, but also for na­tional pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment, he con­cluded.

Rak­sha Mantri Manohar Par­rikar be­ing wel­comed for his ad­dress dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of the Naval Com­man­ders Con­fer­ence in New Delhi

REAR AD­MI­RAL S. RAM­SAY (RETD)

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