Former Chief of Naval Staff and chairman of National Maritime Foundation (NMF) Admiral Arun Prakash on Wednesday said that NMF would investigate and retrieve Indian maritime history and document it for passing it on to the future generations.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Eastern Seaboard in the new millennium – challenges and opportunities', organised by the NMF- Visakhapatnam Regional Chapter, he noted that India, which had a glorious past, of late, was also becoming a great maritime force with the acquisition of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers that made other countries in the world sit up and take notice. He felt that the step was important for development of life and 95 per cent of trade was through sea.

Then there was the protection of the coast and also prevention of piracy, drug trafficking and smuggling of arms to deal with. The primary task of NMF was to reawaken and sensitise the country to the maritime needs, he said.

Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anup Singh, in his presentation, said that maritime countries were naturally blessed as the sea provided access and the focus was now on the East, which had steep continental shelf and naturally deep harbours, and also energy opportunities with oil and gas waiting to be tapped.

Plenty of opportunity

There were also many new ports coming up on the East coast like Gangavaram, Krishnapatnam and others. There was also need for deep sea located shipyards and there was plenty of opportunity for inland water ways. There were the fishery and tourism opportunities with a lot of Buddhist sites located in the region, he pointed out. Of course, challenges too were many since the threat at sea was totally unexpected.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Dr. B.R Ambedkar Open University R.V.R. Chandrasekhara Rao spoke on new dimensions of security, Prof. C. Somasundara Rao on AP Maritime History and Culture and Prof. P. Vijayprakash on development of maritime activity in Andhra Pradesh.

Former Cabinet Secretary T.R. Prasad gave an overview while NMF Director C. Uday Bhaskar summed up the proceedings.

CMD of Hindustan Shipyard Naresh Kumar, CMD of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant P.K. Bishnoi, City Commissioner of Police J. Purnachandra Rao and CMD of Dredging Corporation of India S.S. Tripathi spoke.

Earlier, coordinator of NMF-VRC Prof. A. Prasanna Kumar welcomed the guests while R.K. Iyer proposed a vote of thanks.

Admiral Arun Prakash and other dignitaries felicitated senior most marine engineer in the city, 91-year-old K. Parthasarathy on the occasion.

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