Andhra Pradesh

Women officers onboard warships soon, says Karambir Singh

ENC chief Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh addressing the media in Visakhapatnam on Friday.   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

The Indian Navy is finalising a policy for women officers to serve on select warships that have proper facilities for them.

The women onboard the warships of the Indian Navy would work shoulder- to-shoulder with men in the coming years, Chief of Eastern Naval Command (ENC) Vice Admiral Karambir Singh told the media onboard INS Kamorta, here on Friday.

Over 50 women fighter pilots would be inducted into the Indian Navy soon, and some of them had been working with the force in various ranks.

“The living conditions in the warships are different, and the Indian Navy has been trying to create an environment for women to sail and work on the ships,” said Vice Admiral Karambir Singh.

Referring to the sacking of a sailor of the Indian Navy after he had undergone sex change operation, Vice Admiral Karambir Singh said the Indian Navy’s regulations disallowed such persons to continue in service as India was part of a majority group of countries that did not allow gender reassignment during service.

A senior officer with the ENC said the Indian Navy would be modifying the warships and design them to suit the requirements of the women officers. The Shivalik Class ships had been designed to accommodate women officers, he added.

ENC expansion

Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh said the Indian Navy had a long-term plan to strengthen the sea force in terms of ships, submarines, including nuclear submarines, aircraft, and manpower.

At present, the Indian Navy has a fleet of 134 ships, over 250 aircraft, and 13 submarines, which are equally distributed between the two operational naval commands – Eastern Naval Command (ENC) and Western Naval Command (WNC), besides Southern Naval Command (Training Command) and Andaman and Nicobar Command.

“As of now, 34 ships are under construction at various shipyards in the country. If all goes as per schedule, in 10 to 15 years, the Indian Navy will have a strong fleet of 198 ships, 450 aircraft, and a good number of submarines as part of the expansion and modernisation plan,” he said.

The new air defence ship, INS Vikrant, being built in Kochi, would be assigned to the ENC and Visakhapatnam would be its base, he added.

Golden jubilee year

Explaining the growth of the ENC, Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh said it was established on March 1, 1968, and grew to be a force to reckon with in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean Region. “The ENC is celebrating the golden jubilee year in the form of ‘Swarn Varsh Samaroh’. In the coming years, it will be the biggest sea force in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), dominating from the Gulf of Mannar to the East of Malacca Strait. The celebrations will conclude on March 1, 2018, when a special documentary on the growth of the ENC and Visakhapatnam city would be released,” he said.

Captain R. Sharma said the first of the six planned Scorpene-class (Kalvari-class) diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK), INS Kalvari, would be commissioned during the period 2017 and 2018.

Replying to a question on the Indian Navy’s joint operations with the Chinese Navy, Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh said both the navies were together operating in the Gulf of Aden to thwart the piracy attempts against Indian bulk carriers, he added.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 9:39:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/women-officers-onboard-warships-soon-says-karambir-singh/article21244546.ece

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