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Defence Indigenisation, self-reliance in Indian navy to make India a force to reckon with: Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the first edition of the bi-annual Naval Commander’s office and also addressed the senior leadership of the Indian Navy at the event. Asserting that India will be a “force to reckon with” in the Indo-Pacific region, the defence minister, stressed on the need for indigenisation of defence production, reported TOI. However, she also said that she was happy that shipbuilding projects worth over Rs. 32,000 crores had been tendered and nearing the conclusion, says an Indian Defence News release.


Addressing the gathering at the Naval Commanders’ Conference, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “We firmly believe that India can be self-reliant in developing and producing its own weapon systems and sensors. The Navy is actively engaging in the research and development of advanced equipment for the defence forces and I am sure that the indigenous industry will rise to the need and will help the Navy in its modernisation programme”. The Ministry of Defence has also undertaken a strategic partnership with Tata Power to develop Combat Management System for the indigenous aircraft carrier. Another project that the Ministry of Defence has initiated is called Samudrika, which aims at reaching 100 per cent indigenisation of electronic warfare fit onboard Indian Naval Ships.


Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also took note of the shortfalls that the Indian Navy had been facing. She addressed the issues related to combat readiness of reconnaissance aircraft, conventional submarines and multi-role fighter helicopters. She assured the senior officials of the Indian Navy that the Ministry was looking into the issues in all seriousness and would resolve matters at the earliest. She also reiterated India’s maritime interests and its relation with other countries to boost economic growth and how the Navy had a huge role to play in it.


While she commended the navy personnel for their professionalism and dedication to safeguard the nation, she also called for the Navy’s greater participation in self-reliance. The Defence Ministry has also been collaborating with private and other small shipbuilding companies to complete the construction of yard crafts and other projects worth Rs. 760 crore. The attempt to build indigenous weapon intensive platform, Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs), Fleet Support Ships and Diving Support Vessels, aims to bolster the ambitious ‘Make in India’ initiative for defence production in India, read a statement from the Ministry of Defence.


Interacting with the Commanders, Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the Navy for its progress made with respect to Digital Navy Vision Document. She also lauded the Navy’s active participation in the deployment of ships, submarines and aircraft in Areas of Responsibility (AOR) and its proactive activity in the IOR. She also recognised the Navy’s efforts in carrying out search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and anti-piracy operations.


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