Staff Reporter

Naval Chief honours personnel at investiture ceremony

KOCHI: Economic development had increased the Navy’s responsibilities and the situation demanded new inductions into the force, said Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Thursday.

Thirty-three ships and six submarines were being built in India. Already aircraft carrier Vikramaditya and more ships of the Talwar class were being built in Russia.

He was speaking after an investiture ceremony at the naval base here on Thursday. He presented awards to naval personnel who were decorated on the Republic Day.

“Large-scale induction in aviation is also on the cards with negotiations for the Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft in the final stages, while the MiG 29 and helicopters are also expected soon,” he said.

On the Pay Commission recommendations, Admiral Mehta said that while it would be largely beneficial to all, certain anomalies existed. These were peculiar to the working atmosphere in the Services. The issue would be taken up with the Finance Ministry after deliberations in the next couple of weeks.

The awards presented at the ceremony included five Nao Sena Medals (NM) for ‘Gallantry,’ for acts of exceptional courage; 10 Nao Sena Medals for ‘Devotion to Duty’; 18 Vishist Seva Medals (VSM); and one Jeevan Raksha Pathak, besides two gold medals and three unit citations.

Among the Gallantry award winners were Lt. Cdr. Nitin Gupta heading a MARCOS team along with Lt. P.R. Jagan Mohan and Sudhir Singh ME - I, who, during OP-Rakshak at village Kuta, successfully encountered and killed two terrorists.

The initiative of Lt. Cdr. Mohit Gupta, while on board Maldives Coast Guard ship Huravee, to overcome a heavily armed LTTE boat after a long gun battle against a determined and suicidal enemy, brought victory to the Maldives National Coast Guard.

R.S. Bani, Petty Officer (Clearance Diver), during rescue operations in the flood-affected Krishna district saved the lives of eight Army personnel whose vessel capsized.

Missile destroyer INS Rana of the Eastern Fleet, submarine INS Shankush of the Western Naval Command and Air Squadron INAS 310 were presented with unit citations. Virendra Kumar, Petty Officer (Clearance Diver) was awarded the Jeevan Raksha Pathak. Lt. Cdr. Rahul Sharma and Rajeev Sharma, Chief EAAR, received the Lt. V.K. Jain Memorial and Capt. Ravi Dhir Memorial Gold Medal.