Antony for more navy-to-navy contact in Indian Ocean region

October 27th, 2010 - 11:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony Wednesday called for increased navy-to-navy contact with the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean.

“The complex maritime security environment in our region requires the navy to maintain a state of perpetual readiness-operationally. You must factor in the need to be ready at all times prominently, while planning for the future,” Antony said addressing the navy commanders’ conference here.

“At the same time, we need to maintain and even increase the momentum of our navy-to-navy contact with the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean. Such contacts strengthen professional ties, mutual trust and streamline inter-operability issues,” he said.

Referring to the pirate attacks as a major area of concern in the Indian Ocean region, Antony said the Indian Navy’s presence in the piracy-affected areas showed our commitment and resolve to contribute our might in dealing with such threats.

Underlining the need for more contacts with other maritime nations in a calibrated manner, Antony said there was a need to sustain the momentum of cooperation with Sri Lanka to ensure peaceful fishing on either side of the International Maritime Boundary Line and to prevent a possible resurgence of the Tamil Tigers.

“We also need to engage like-minded African states in the western Indian Ocean region, such as Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, to enhance our strengths and contribute to peace and stability, not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the entire Indian Ocean region,” he added.

He also pointed out that the on-going review of defence procurement procedure 2008 will enhance induction of capability, along with self-reliance.

The minister assured naval commanders that “wherever required, import options would be considered to meet operational requirements and this option must be an exception and not the rule”.

Referring to the creation of operational and administrative infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, Antony said it should be accorded due priority in close coordination with all stakeholders.

He said that the government had accorded approval for forward naval bases at Tuticorin and Paradip.

In the course of the conference, the commanders deliberated on the availability of operational assets and progress of new projects and the critical need to maintain a close watch on submarine projects.

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