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Naval Chief’s brief to his commanders in Indian Ocean region

Admiral Sunil Lanba asked his top commanders to work towards expanding the Navy's operational footprint in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in the backdrop of India and China working for the same strategic space in the region.

Admiral Lanba, chairing the four-day naval commanders' conference, on May 5 said the Navy should also continue to make efforts to be viewed as the "the stabilizing force" as well as "the first responder" by the littoral states in the Indian Ocean region.

The Navy, is keeping an-eye over the ever-increasing long-range deployment by the Chinese Navy+ , includeing its regular forays by its conventional and nuclear submarines to the Indian Ocean Regiona since December 2013. China also continues to deepen its maritime links with Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia as well as countries in East Africa.

 Defence Minister Arun Jaitley also dwelt on the expanding presence of extra-regional powers in the Indian OceanR" while earlier addressing the conference, 

 Admiral Lanba, emphasized the need for modernization and indigenization in the Navy, which has chalked out plans to have 212 warships and 458 aircraft and helicopters by 2027. At present, the Navy has 140 warships and 235 aircraft and helicopters. The depletion in the number of its submarines, multi-role helicopters and minesweepers, however, is posing major operational problems for the force.

 India has two nuclear-powered submarines, INS Arihant and INS Chakra. China, in turn, has 56 submarines, which include five new Jin-class nuclear submarines.

India's poor long-term strategic planning to build military capabilities and infrastructure has also ensured that the crucially-located Andaman and Nicobar Command is yet to become the pivot it could be to counter China' strategic moves in the IOR.

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