Swarn Varsh Sa­maroh – Eastern Naval Com­mand

Rear Ad­mi­ral Sushil Ram­say (Retd)


eASTern nAVAl Com­mAnD (enC) was es­tab­lished in 1968 with a re­spon­si­bil­ity for safe guard­ing in­di­aÕs mar­itime in­ter­est across the can­vas of the geopo­lit­i­cally strate­gic Eastern Se­aboard. ENC is the largest ge­o­graph­i­cal Com­mand of the in­dian Armed Forces, ex­tend­ing from the Sun­der­bans in the North, to the Gulf of Man­nar in the South. This year ENC is cel­e­brat­ing its Golden Ju­bilee in the form of ‘Swarn Varsh Sa­maroh’.

It was in 1923 when the Bri­tish iden­ti­fied Visakhapatnam as an im­por­tant con­voy as­sem­bly point for mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion that a small naval out­post was set up in De­cem­ber 1939. Strate­gic im­por­tance of the minis­cule naval out­post, which over the years had trans­formed into a ma­jor Train­ing Es­tab­lish­ment for the Sailors, could not have re­mained hid­den from the fo­cus of the in­dian navyÕs vi­sion­ary force plan­ners and the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia. Thus, the Naval Base at Visakhap­t­nam was trans­formed as the eastern naval Com­mand on March 1, 1968, and des­ig­nated as es­sen­tially as Sub­ma­rine Base. Late Rear Ad­mi­ral K.R. Nair was ap­pointed as the first Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Com­mand.

This ar­range­ment turned out to be prophetic as within a short span of lit­tle over three years enC was en­gaged in hec­tic prepa­ra­tions for war-like sit­u­a­tion on the Eastern Se­aboard, cen­tred in the Bay of Ben­gal. The force lev­els of ENC were suit­ably aug­mented and many front­line war­ships in­clud­ing the sole air­craft car­rier, INS Vikrant were de­ployed on the Eastern Se­aboard. Dur­ing the War of Lib­er­a­tion, se­quel to which an in­de­pen­dent and sov­er­eign na­tion, Bangladesh was born, out of for­mer East Pak­istan. In recog­ni­tion of its ster­ling role in the joint op­er­a­tions ENC earned sev­eral war tro­phies, big­gest of them all be­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of late Vice Ad­mi­ral N. Kr­ish­nan, the Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Com­mand at sign­ing the in­stru­ment of Sur­ren­der. In­dian Navy’s role dur­ing the War of lib­er­a­tion still con­tin­ues to be com­mem­o­rated by the suc­ces­sive Gov­ern­ments of bangladesh by invit­ing sev­eral in­dian navy Vet­er­ans who played ster­ling role in the cre­ation, train­ing and steer­ing stealthy op­er­a­tions of Mukti Bahini.

Dur­ing five decades of its ex­is­tence, the Com­mand has been trans­formed into a truly po­tent naval force and boasts of the com­bined might of strong and bal­anced blue wa­ter Eastern Fleet, a po­tent sub­ma­rine arm and an om­nipresent air arm, a ver­sa­tile dock­yard and var­i­ous other sup­port agen­cies with mod­ern in­fra­struc­ture and an­cil­lary fa­cil­i­ties spread across the en­tire East Coast.

As part of the Swarn Varsh Sa­maroh, enC has planned a se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties dis­persed over the next one year. The first event was a beach Clean-up and Tree Plan­ta­tion Drive on April 2, 2017. The next event was the Golden Ju­bilee Mu­si­cal Eve- ning in Oc­to­ber. The Golden Ju­bilee Viza­g­navy marathon will be held on novem­ber 12, 2017, which will be fol­lowed by a Golden Ju­bilee Triathlon on De­cem­ber 17, 2017. The Swarn Varsh Sa­maroh cel­e­bra­tions would con­clude with a grand fi­nale on March 1, 2018, when a spe­cial doc­u­men­tary on ENC and Visakhapatnam would be re­leased.

Golden Ju­bilee Sem­i­nar with the theme “Na­tional Mar­itime Power-Con­cepts, Con­stituents and Cat­a­lysts” was held at Sa­mu­drika Au­di­to­rium on Au­gust 22, 2017. Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff was the Chief Guest. The two-day Sem­i­nar was jointly spon­sored by ENC and the Na­tional Mar­itime Foundation (NMF).

Vice Ad­mi­ral H.C.S. Bisht, Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing-in-Chief, in his wel­come ad­dress nar­rated the epic jour­ney of ENC over the past 50 years. De­liv­er­ing the in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan (Retd), Chair­man nmf re­it­er­ated the need for fos­ter­ing a mar­itime thought process in shap­ing our poli­cies to­wards be­com­ing a stronger mar­itime power in the in­dian ocean Re­gion. In his key note ad­dress, Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff high­lighted the im­por­tance of our mar­itime ob­jec­tives and pri­or­i­ties, ne­ces­sity of con­ver­gence amongst all mar­itime stake­hold­ers and the strate­gic foot­print of the In­dian Navy across the oceans.

The first ses­sion with theme “In­dia as a Resur­gent Mar­itime Power” was chaired by Ad­mi­ral Arun Prakash (Retd). Com­modore C. Uday Bhaskar (Retd), spoke on the chang­ing na­ture of mar­itime power and ex­pand­ing mar­itime in­ter­ests. Vice Ad­mi­ral Pradeep Chauhan (Retd), there­after, dis­cussed China’s in­creas­ing foot­print, in­flu­ence and geo-eco­nomic in­ter­ests in the In­dian Ocean. Prof Brahma Chel­laney spoke elo­quently on var­i­ous non-tra­di­tional chal­lenges in the mar­itime do­main and de­scribed the ex­ist­ing geo-strate­gic mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment and chang­ing mar­itime power equa­tions.

The se­cond ses­sion on Òmar­itime eco­nom­ics, In­fra­struc­ture and Mar­itime En­vi­ron­ment” was chaired by Vice Ad­mi­ral Anup Singh (Retd). The first speaker Dr (Cap­tain) Suresh Bhard­waj, spoke about the chal­lenges faced in the do­main of crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture such as ports, ship­ping and ship­build­ing, and the rec­om­mended means to over­come these chal­lenges. Shri S. Ra­ma­sun­daram, Sci­en­tist ‘D’, de­lib­er­ated upon the need for har­ness­ing ocean re­sources through tech­nol­ogy and work be­ing pro­gressed by the na­tional in­sti­tute of ocean Tech­nol­ogy to­wards de­vel­op­ing ma­rine tech­nol­ogy and pro­vid­ing a bul­wark for our mar­itime power.

The third ses­sion ti­tled Òmar­itime Se­cu­rity and Safety” was chaired by Vice Ad­mi­ral Ra­man P. Suthan (Retd). Rear Ad­mi­ral S.y. Shrikhande (Retd) in his pre­sen­ta­tion put for­ward his views on the con­stab­u­lary func­tions, asym­met­ric threats and its im­pact on force struc­ture, bud­get and op­er­a­tions in the mar­itime do­main. Deputy In­spec­tor Gen­eral Donny Michael from the In­dian Coast Guard there­after spoke on mar­itime gov­er­nance, law en­force­ment and other com­plex le­gal is­sues in the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment in­clud­ing over­lap­ping ju­ris­dic­tions and leg­is­la­tions. Cap­tain (Dr) Gur­preet Khu­rana then de­lib­er­ated upon in­di­aÕs ap­proach to­wards hu­man­i­tar­ian re­sponse for var­i­ous con­tin­gen­cies at sea and its im­por­tance as a re­gional mar­itime power.

Se­cond day of the Sem­i­nar with ses­sion on “Re­gional Mar­itime Dy­nam­ics” was chaired by Vice Ad­mi­ral Satish Soni (Retd). Ad­di­tional Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, V.S.R. Murthy, In­dian Coast Guard de­lib­er­ated upon is­sues such as transna­tional crimes, threats im­ping­ing on blue econ­omy vi­sion of in­dia and ap­proach to­wards ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion. There­after, Com­man­der Prakash Gopal elab­o­rated upon In­dia’s im­per­a­tives in fur­ther­ing con­struc­tive mar­itime en­gage­ment in the Indo–Pa­cific Re­gion. This was fol­lowed by Cap­tain S.S. Par­mar, speak­ing on bal­ance of power, con­cepts of power tran­si­tion and free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion.

The pro­ceed­ings of the Sem­i­nar were summed up by Vice Ad­mi­ral Pradeep Chauhan (Retd), Di­rec­tor, NMF. The vale­dic­tory ad­dress was de­liv­ered by Ad­mi­ral Arun Prakash (Retd) and ad­dressed the is­sues and chal­lenges in our mar­itime do­main and pro­posed a way ahead to­wards be­com­ing a stronger mar­itime power.

Covert­ness con­sti­tutes the key ad­van­tage of a sub­ma­rine, and any sub­ma­rine must carry a highly ef­fi­cient strike sys­tem in or­der to ben­e­fit from this fea­ture the best way.

The CLUB sys­tem in­cor­po­rat­ing anti-ship and land at­tack mis­siles has been in op­er­a­tional ser­vice with the In­dian Navy for over 15 years to date. This sys­tem, on the one hand, qual­i­fies for the lat­est ef­fi­ciency and op­er­a­tional chal­lenges, on the other, has its unique fea­tures, of which the best known is a su­per­sonic com­bat stage of the anti-ship cruise mis­sile de­tached af­ter tar­get is de­tected by the hom­ing head. Ret­i­cent ap­proach to the tar­get in cruise, high speed and min­i­mal alti­tude of the com­bat stage ex­tremely com­pli­cate the de­tec­tion and in­ter­cep­tion of even sin­gle mis­sile for a ship’s anti-air­craft sys­tem, not to men­tion a salvo launch, where hit­ting is largely a sure thing.

Com­ing down to the land at­tack mis­siles, ev­ery­one the world over has wit­nessed suc­cess­ful de­ploy­ment of the Cal­iber cruise mis­siles against ISIS strongholds in Syria; how­ever, Club is es­sen­tially an ex­port ver­sion of Cal­iber and is only range lim­ited to 300 km.

Sub­marines of the In­dian Navy fit­ted with Club sys­tem se­ri­ously rea­son any ag­gres­sor to with­hold its en­deav­our for se­cu­rity of In­dia and its mar­itime do­mains.

(Top) Chief of the Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba de­liv­er­ing his key note ad­dress at the sem­i­nar; (mid­dle) The first ses­sion of the con­fer­ence – In­dia as a Resur­gent Mar­itime Power – in progress; (above) Del­e­gates at the sem­i­nar.


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