Asks them to take stern action in cases of inappropriate behaviour

Taking cognizance of the prevailing security environment in India’s neighbourhood, Defence Minister A.K. Antony asked the Navy on Tuesday to ensure foolproof security at any cost for “our bases, dockyards, ships, submarines and aircraft.”

Funds would never be a constraint for capital acquisition. Funds must be utilised in the most judicious manner to achieve national goals, he said.

The Minister was addressing the naval commanders’ conference here, the first to dispense with the physical presence of top commanders. Naval Commands at Mumbai, Vizag and Kochi were linked to New Delhi through video conference.

The Navy thus became the first Service to conduct a meeting of this magnitude through “video-conferencing.”

Referring to recent incidents of “inappropriate behaviour” on the part of a few naval personnel, Mr. Antony called for the “sternest possible action” against those who tarnish the image and prestige of the armed forces.

Mr. Antony asked the top brass of the Navy to focus on construction of “additional bases and naval air stations in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands to further extend our operational reach.”

He told the Navy and the Coast Guard top brass to ensure that measures envisaged under phase-II of the Coastal Security Plan were implemented on time.

“The National Command Control, the communication and intelligence network project, is to become operational later this year. This real-time link between the operations rooms of the Navy and the Coast Guard will surely synergise coastal security operations,” he said.

The Minister complimented the Navy for checking piracy in the Gulf of Aden to some extent and ensuring that the menace did not spread towards Indian waters.

He also lauded its efforts to indigenise defence production. “Forty-six of the 48 naval platforms under construction are being built in India” he said. “Indigenisation of equipment, especially weapons and sensors, in association with DRDO through the buy and make (Indian) route is an initiative that needs to be carried forward strongly and replicated in other spheres,” he told the commanders.

Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi noted the high tempo of operations maintained by all naval units and observed that ships and submarines that were inducted would be primarily indigenous in the coming years.

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