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Updated: December 2, 2009 23:35 IST

Navy has not shifted focus from primary task: Admiral Verma

K.V. Prasad
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Indian Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma at the annual press conference in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009. AP Photo
AP Indian Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma at the annual press conference in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009. AP Photo

The Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma on Wednesday asserted that the Indian Navy remains focussed on its primary task of the country's security on the high seas and has not shifted focus after being tasked with the overall responsibility of coastal security.

“Just because of [the revamped] coastal security, we have not steered away from our role... the task is going on as before and another task [of coordinating coastal security] has been added. It has not distracted us from our main task,” Admiral Verma said at a press conference ahead of the Navy Day celebration on Friday.

After last year’s 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the Indian Navy is tasked with the overall responsibility of coastal security in co-ordination with the Coast Guard, Marine Police under States, Customs, and several other agencies.

Outlining his vision for the Indian Navy, Admiral Verma said the aim is to consolidate what has been done so far in respect of sensors, weapons; perform to attain peak efficiency; extract the maximum from its personnel and put accent on the construction of ships and platforms.

While the Navy stood for indigenisation in building warships, he lamented the speed at which the defence shipyards in the country are functioning. “We want to build [ships] at a certain pace,” he said, adding that the current methodology adopted was more time-consuming than those followed by shipyards in other countries.

The Navy is acquiring a number of platforms – frigates, destroyers, corvettes, offshore patrol vessels, mini counter vessels, fast interceptors and tankers while finalising design for the landing platform dock on the lines of INS Jalashwa (USS Trenton).

Price negotiations for INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov) aircraft carrier entered the fourth and possibly final round. The Navy Chief said work was progressing at the Russian shipyard and the carrier is expected to be inducted towards end 2012.

Work on the indigenous aircraft carrier was going on with some 10,000 tonnes of steel already in Hull. It is expected to be ready for launch next year ahead of the induction scheduled in 2014. While MiG 29 K will be on the deck of INS Vikramaditya, the Naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft is earmarked for the indigenous aircraft carrier.

The Navy hopes to issue a Request for Proposal for 6 Medium Range Maritime surveillance aircrafts and is looking for helicopters for its ships.

Seeking to lower the temperature on the presence of China in the Indian Ocean, he said that the country remains concerned as is India, since majority of the energy supplies passes through the sea lanes and the deployment was probably to meet the challenge.

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