Bi-Annual Naval Commanders’ Conference
Rear Admiral Sushil Ramsay (Retd)
AFOUR-DAY NAVAL COMMANDERSÕ CONFERENCE was held from October 24-27, 2017. The Conference provided a platform for institutionalised interaction between the Naval Commanders and senior government officials, as also, with the Chiefs of Indian Army and Indian Air Force. The primary focus during the Conference was to review and fine-tune the mission-based deployment concept to result in greater presence and visibility of the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region (IOR).
The recent times have witnessed growing presence and influence of the Peoples’ Liberation Army (Navy) of China in IOR and the Pacific which have caused severe consternation throughout the globe. The evolving dynamics within the maritime domain imposes upon Indian Navy the roles, responsibilities and the challenges of unprecedented dimension. It behoves upon Indian Navy to upgrade commensurate strategic assets and infrastructure in the region of its maritime security domain.
The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed and interacted with the Naval Commanders on October 26, 2017. The Minister reviewed the combat readiness of the Navy, pace of modernisation and progress of various acquisition and infrastructure related cases. She complimented the Indian Navy for maintaining a high operational tempo, ensuring the maritime security of the country and sustained efforts in support of the ‘Make in IndiaÕand ÔDigital IndiaÕinitiatives of the Government. The Minister brought out that it was a matter of pride that all 34 war- ships presently under construction were being built indigenously. She also complimented the Navy on the successful conduct of tri-lateral exercise ‘ Malabar 2017’ and informed the Commanders that during the recently concluded ADMM Plus, keen interest was evinced by various ASEAN nations in exercising with the Indian Navy, which spoke highly of the Indian Navy’s professional standing and competence. She complimented all personnel of the Indian Navy for securing the maritime interests of the nation. Taking note of the recent developments in our maritime neighbourhood, she emphasised the need for Indian Navy to be strong at sea, and be ever ready and vigilant to counter any challenges in the maritime domain.
She took note of the critical capability shortfalls that Indian Navy is facing in ship-borne multi-role helicopters, conven- tional submarines and mine counter measure vessels, which need urgent redressal to maintain the combat edge. The Defence Minister assured that these issues were being given due impetus and efforts were in hand to mitigate these shortcomings at the earliest.
Concluding her address, the Minister stated that maritime interests of a nation have a vital relationship with its economic growth and these shall be protected at all costs by ensuring a strong and credible Indian Navy.
Chairing the Conference, Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff, addressed the Naval Commanders and stressed focus on four key areas; ‘Combat Capability and Role-Worthiness’, ‘Ensuring Primacy of Core Professional Tasks’, ‘Develop a Motivated, Trained and Committed TeamÕand ÔIncrease Familiarity and
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and other senior Naval Commanders at the conference