Panaji: Union minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik on Monday said that the Indian Navy has maintained high levels of operational readiness during COVID-19 crisis and remained in a combat ready posture thus ensuring security and stability in country’s maritime domain.
Naik was addressing the gathering after commissioning Indian Naval Air Squadron 323, the first unit of the indigenously built ALH (Advanced Light Helicopters) MkIII aircraft in presnce of Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command at INS Hansa base near Vasco town, 30 kms away from here.
The minister said “the past year had many challenges. In addition to the omnipresent challenges to our national security, we witnessed the security situation at the LAC and the security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the manner in which it affected our operational, economic and social landscape.”
“I am glad to note that Navy has maintained high levels of operational readiness during these crisis and remained in a combat ready posture thus ensuring security and stability in our maritime domain,” he added.
Naik said that Western Naval command has been at the forefront of securing our maritime interests in the region, and its posture, readiness and forward deployments have acted as a strong deterrent to force inimical to India’s interests.
Hailing the role of Indian Navy during pandemic situation, Naik said “Indian Navy has invested significant efforts in meeting all regional commitments in furthering our diplomatic engagments with the friends and partners in the Indo-Pacific .”
“While the natural tendency during COVID-19 pandemic was to look outwards. The Navy was a key instrument of India’s COVID outreach, delivering assistance and support to our maritime neighbours and partners in the Indian Ocean Region,” he said.
Naik said that the prompt and effective deployment of the Indian Navy in the time of crisis has underscored India’s vision of being the Preferred Security Partners and First Responder in our region.
“As we move towards becoming a five trillion dollar economy, we must remember that no country can aspire to become an economic or regional powerhouse wihle being dependent on imports to defend itself,” he said.
Speaking about the ALH’s which were commissioned on Monday (today), Naik said the new ALH Mark III with its full glass cockpit, new Shakti engines, advanced maritime patrol radar and infrared electro-optical equipment will enhance our shore-based surveillance capabilities in the coastal areas.