Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin Dhowan said the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala would start training cadets from friendly foreign countries from this year-end.

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Robin Dhowan, on Wednesday, urged Indian Navy personnel to put up a concerted effort for professional excellence with a view to restoring the image of the Navy, which got dented following some untoward incidents in the recent past.

Stressing the importance of the men behind machines, Admiral Dhowan, on his maiden visit to the Southern Naval Command (SNC) here after taking over the reins of the force, said that while the multi-dimensional maritime force maintained high professional standards, the very nature of its job put the Navy and the warships it operated in harm's way.

“However, we follow stringent procedures, have taken serious note of incidents and whatever recommendations for enhancement of safety thereon and continue to carry out safety audit of platforms to ensure that standard operating procedures are not bypassed. Safety check of platforms is carried out on a regular basis,” he told the media on the recent accidents involving Navy ships and submarines.

On a specific query on accidents aboard submarines, Admiral Dhowan said enquires into the incidents being held at different levels were at various stages. He said rigorous measures were being adopted even before the closure of such enquiries to avert similar occurrences in future and that action would be initiated against those responsible for the mishaps, if that was the case.

Referring to the transition undergone by the increasingly self-reliant Navy by way of capability and capacity building, he said the force always remained alert to take on contingencies. “Safety of assets and personnel is paramount,” he said, emphasising that the Navy was fully geared up to safeguard the interests of the nation in its areas of operation, in which the Indian Ocean region figured on top.

Terming training as the foundation stone for professional excellence, Admiral Dhowan said the Southern Command, the training command of the force, made significant strides in ensuring professional competence and quality of manpower. Training in the Navy had kept pace with its long-term perspective plan for modernisation and capability-building. “It is in step with the induction of state-of-the-art equipment and is simulator-based and computer-aided.”

Responding to a query, the Admiral said the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala would start training cadets from friendly foreign countries from this year-end. “While we are consolidating the training infrastructure at INA at the moment, the intake of foreign cadets will start from end-2014.”

On the National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (Nirdesh), he said the centre, supported by the Navy and the defence shipyards, was established as a national design facility for construction of defence platforms in future.

The Admiral is slated to review the training activities of various naval establishments under SNC and the progress in construction of INS Vikrant — the first indigenous aircraft carrier at the Cochin Shipyard that he said would be delivered by end-2018 — during his stay in Kochi.

Earlier in the day, he inspected a ceremonial guard of honour. The Admiral will leave for Delhi on Thursday.

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