The Indian Navy is working towards becoming fully `Atmanirbhar’ (Self Reliant) by 2047. Navy’s plans towards this journey were shared by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar at the annual press interaction ahead of the Navy day on December 4.
Elaborating on efforts to achieve indigenization by 2047, he said that the focus of the service remains towards this. According to him the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has demonstrated that “For our security requirement we cannot remain dependent on others. There are clear guidelines towards the `Atmanirbhar’ issued by the government,” the navy chief said in response to a question.
Chinese ships in the region
In response to another question related to the increased number of Chinese vessels in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Admiral Hari said that the Navy is keeping an eye on all developments in the region and ensuring that the country’s interests are protected.
He also told the media that there are a lot of ships which operate in IOR. At any given time there are 4-6 PLA Navy ships which are operating and there also a large number of fishing vessels which operate. Adding, “Besides the PLA, around 60 odd extra regional forces are also present in IOR. The Navy is keeping a close watch on the developments in the IOR.”
He said that the job of the Navy is to protect maritime interests of the country and to ensure that nothing goes against the Indian interests.
Agniveers: Gender Neutral Force
For the first time in a transformational move, women agniveers have been inducted in the Indian Navy. He informed that 3000 agniveers have joined the force and out of this 341 are women. According to him, for the first time women have joined as sailors and by next year all branches of the Indian Navy will be opened up for women officers. “The women agniveers will all be trained in the same manner as their male counterparts and this includes the same trials including the physical endurance tests etc.” And they will be deployed on ships, aircraft and on bases.
Naval Veterans in Qatar
He said that the issue of the naval veterans in confinement of Qatar is being pursued at the highest level.
“After joining the Navy, you become a member of the Navy family. Continuous efforts are being made by all the agencies at the highest level to resolve this matter. We hope a solution will be found,” the Naval Chief stated.
In his opening remarks the Chief talked about the share of the Navy in the annual defence budget which is at 17.8 percent, and said it was adequate. And “Capital to Revenue ratio was 32:68 which is very good,” he added. And this, according to the Navy chief, accords the service flexibility in pursuing its capability development plans.
Journey in one year
He hailed the induction of INS Vikrant as an historic event in the history of the country and the service, as it is a symbol of India’s indigenous capabilities. He stated that India has now joined a niche group of countries which have the capability to build aircraft carriers. And said that in the years to come Vikrant will fly the tricolor proudly in the Indo-Pacific.
The whole year has been operationally engaging and intense as there has been extensive operational deployment. “These have helped us in honing up our skills.”