Andhra Pradesh

ENC has an important role to play on Eastern seaboard, says chief

Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of ENC Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain addressing a press conference onboard INS Jalashwa in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.

Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of ENC Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain addressing a press conference onboard INS Jalashwa in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: C.V. Subrahmanyam

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Expanding Chinese navy is a threat: Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain

Eastern Naval Command has grown manifold since it was constituted in 1968, and now has an important role to play on the Eastern seaboard that comprises the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Indo-Pacific Region (I-PR), said the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of ENC Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain.

He was addressing the media on bell deck of INS Jalashwa, an amphibious transport dock and one of the largest ships of the Indian Navy, on the eve of Navy Day, here on Tuesday.

According to him, IOR and I-PR, are the new areas of economic activity, and about 1.20 lakhs ships pass through the IOR alone in a year. “Seaborne traffic accounts for 90% of the trade volume and of which 70% pass through these seas. And that is why ENC has a major role to play,” he said.

Vice Admiral Jain admitted that China with its expanding navy is a threat and that is why ENC is on an expansion mode.

“Right now we have about 45 operational ships, including seven submarines that include one SSBN (sub-surface ballistic nuclear) INS Arihant and one nuclear-powered attack submarine INS Chakra, which is leased from Russia. As per Indian Navy’s 2027 perspective goal, there should at least 190 operational ships including submarines, and ENC should have a minimum of 70 ships,” he said. As of now Indian Navy has 132 operational ships, including submarines.

Giving a picture of its upcoming floating assets, he said, “If things fall in place we should be docking INS Vikrant, the second aircraft carrier, which is being built indigenously, in Visakhapatnam. This apart, since the Rajput-class destroyers are being decommissioned in phases, we will be inducting the Delhi-class guided-missile destroyers in ENC and at least three Shivalik-class multi role frigates,” he said.

This apart, a couple of more SSBNs and offshore patrol vessel are in the pipeline, he added.

Air superiority

To boost the air superiority, ENC will soon have a squadron, containing at least 20 MIG 29 K based at INS Dega.

This will act as air support to INS Vikrant. Initially, it will be a training ground and later it will be transformed into a full-fledged operational squadron, he said.

Vice-Admiral Jain also confirmed that Badangi airbase near Bobbili, is being developed as alternative airbase by the ENC.

Considering the threat from Chinese submarines in the region and admitting that there is a shortage of combat helicopters, especially those specialised in anti-submarine warfare, he confirmed that ENC will soon get at least 10 MRH (multi role helicopters) to boost its air superiority, especially in the area of surveillance and attack.

“This apart, we will also be receiving a couple of more P8i long-range anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, to propel our air superiority in the region. We are also expecting that in another two to three years, we will have our own satellite for surveillance,” he said.

Terror threat

Referring to a question on potential seaborne terror threat, he said that there are intelligence reports suggesting such attacks, and surveillance have been stepped up.

“India has a long coastline of about 7,500 km, and of which around 2,400 km fall under the purview of ENC. The coastline is porous and there is potential threat. And that is why we have been conducting joint exercises with other security agencies to mitigate the threat and also create awareness among the stakeholders,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 9:36:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/enc-has-an-important-role-to-play-on-eastern-seaboard-says-chief/article30153217.ece

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