Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba today said the footprint of the force is increasing in the seas and that it is ready for any contingency. “Over the years our footprint has been increasing (in Indian Ocean). We have increased our deployment. We have a ship that is permanently stationed in the Gulf of Eden and the ship of the western fleet has just done a foray into Mediterranean and gone all the way into Atlantic,” Lanba told reporters here.
The Navy chief reviewed the passing out parade of the National Defence Academy (NDA) held here this morning. He said ships from the eastern fleet were in Singapore and they carried out an exercise with the Singapore Navy in the South China Sea. “They are en route to Australia, where they are going to exercise with the Australian Navy. So you see Indian Navy is deployed from the Pacific to the Atlantic and this what we are going to do,” he said.
Asked about increase in presence of Chinese ships in the Indian Ocean and militancy from Pakistan and how the Navy is prepared to tackle another 26/11 like attack, Lanba said, “We are ready for any contingency and whatever decision government takes, we will fulfill our task.”
On modernisation of Indian Navy, he said the Navy has been a pioneer in ‘Make In India’ initiative. “Way back in the early 60s, we took a call that we are going to be a ‘builders Navy than buyers Navy’. We built over 200 ships since the early 60s in the Indian shipyards and at the moment we have 41 ships and submarines, all are under construction in defence and private shipyards and new assets are being inducted into the Navy,” he said.
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“We will have capable and effective Navy which can operate in all the dimensions,” asserted the Navy chief.
Asked about the status of INS Viraat, he said Viraat has been decommissioned and she has been de-stored. “At the moment, we have not got a concrete proposal of converting her (Viraat) into a museum. We will take a call on what is to be done with her,” he said.
Speaking about the integrated command, he said it has been recommended. “The committee report has been submitted to the government and they are examining it. We are going forward with jointness and integration with a slow and steady step forward,” he said.
During his address to the graduating cadets, Admiral Lanba said,”Cherish the true spirit of jointness that has been instilled in all of you at the NDA. Remember, no single service can win a war on its own.”
Meanwhile, 312 cadets graduated from NDA, which included 211 from the Army, 34 from the Navy, and 67 from the Air Force. The graduating cadets included 11 foreigners, from countries like Bhutan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Lesotho and Rwanda.