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Sitharaman presides over display of naval might

January 09, 2018 23:57 IST

IMAGE: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves from the cockpit of an MiG 29K during the operational manoeuvres of the Western Fleet ships, conducted by the Indian Navy, in Panaji on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo/Press Information Bureau of India

The Indian Navy is fully capable of defending the nation against any form of threat, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said after witnessing a show of its operational might off the western coast of India.


More than 10 warships from the Indian Navy including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, three submarines and various naval aircraft participated in the show.

IMAGE: Sitharaman, on board INS Vikramaditya Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, waves while witnessing the operational prowess of the Navy. Photograph: PTI Photo/Press Information Bureau of India

The Navy said Sitharaman 'presided over' complex naval operations including air interceptions, missile, gun and rocket firings, ship-to-ship replenishment, night flying and anti-submarine operations during the two-day-long show which began on Monday.

The western fleet of the Navy undertook the manoeuvres off the western seaboard of India to showcase operational excellence and combat capabilities.

IMAGE: Sitharaman being briefed about naval operations on board INS Vikramaditya. Admiral Lanba is also seen. Photograph: PTI Photo/Press Information Bureau of India

The defence minister initially embarked INS Kolkata, the first of the indigenously built Kolkata Class destroyers and then spent the night at sea on-board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

'To assess the performance of the carrier in real conditions, Sitharaman 'transited' through a simulated 'multi-threat' environment on-board along with her 'escorts' during the night of January 8,' the Navy said in a statement.

IMAGE: Sitharaman along with Admiral Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Fleet Rear Admiral R B Pandit, CO Vikramaditya Capt Ajay Kochhar on board INS Vikramaditya.
Photograph: PRO Indian Navy

'Having witnessed first-hand the prowess of the Western Fleet, I am confident that the Indian Navy is fully capable of defending the nation against any form of threat,' she was quoted as saying by the Navy.

Sitharaman said the Navy's 'mission based' deployments in the Indian Ocean region have effectively contributed in keeping the seas safe.

IMAGE: The defence minister and the chief of naval staff witness Day Operations by MiG 29K during the operational manoeuvres of the Western Fleet ships.
Photograph: PRO Indian Navy

The Navy had operationalised a new 'mission-ready' plan for aggressive deployment of warships in critical sea lanes around five months ago, seen as a move to counter China's growing assertiveness in the Indian Ocean region.

Sitharaman said the government was sparing no efforts to enable and empower the armed forces as they 'stand firm' on the country's borders.

IMAGE: Sitharaman meets Heads of Departments (HoDs) of Flagship INS Vikramaditya.
Photograph: PRO Indian Navy

"I am confident that your presence and preparedness will deter our adversaries from attempting any actions detrimental to our sovereignty and safeguard our interests," she said.

She disembarked the ship by naval helicopter to INS Hansa in Goa on Tuesday.

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