Staff Reporter

Seminar gives a perspective on underwater operations

KOCHI: Tactical underwater operations influence the overall outcome of battles, Rear Admiral C.S. Patham, Chief Staff Officer (Sea Vector), Strategic Forces Command, said here on Tuesday.

Delivering the keynote address at a two-day seminar on “Update on diving missions,” which began at the Southern Naval Command, he said that Naval divers were involved in a wide spectrum of operations, ranging from underwater and coastal missions for offensive operations to humanitarian assistance and salvaging of materials from the seabed.

Personnel from the Navy’s different commands, war veterans and industrialists who supply diving-related equipment are attending the seminar, organised by the Navy’s Diving School.

Rear Admiral Patham said that Naval divers played a major role in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, which led to the liberation of Bangladesh. They had attacked the hideouts and boats of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam when the Indian Peace Keeping Force was sent to Sri Lanka. Marine commandos (Marcos) trained at the school had been deployed permanently at Wular Lake in Kashmir.

Proud team

They had done the country proud. Few navies boasted as many deep-sea probes as those undertaken by the Indian Navy. The divers as a cadre had probably the highest number of gallantry award winners within the Navy.

He released Buddy Line, a journal brought out by the personnel of the Diving School.

Invisible warriors

Delivering the inaugural address, Rear Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer, Sea Training, said that Naval divers were considered invisible warriors.

Upgrade of technology had resulted in the divers using micro-processor-based diving kits.

The Principal Director, Special Operations and Diving, K.G. Vishwanathan, said that the mysteries of the sea had from time immemorial fascinated mankind. “Our divers are called upon to perform versatile roles, including humanitarian assistance,” he said.

The diving cadre has many legends and heroes, said the school’s officer in-charge, Anil K. Sharma.

The inaugural ceremony was followed by a presentation on the history of Indian Navy’s high-altitude diving, the involvement of defence labs in the ventures and so on.

Difficulties faced

A team led by Commodore (Retd) Vimal Kumar had won a national record over a decade ago, by carrying out deep diving in Kedar Tal, Uttaranchal.

He spoke of how decreasing air pressure, low-altitude sickness and extreme difficulty in reaching logistical support gave the divers a tough time.