Naval Commanders' Conference 2, 2016

Issue: 5 / 2016By Rear Admiral Sushil Ramsay (Retd)Photo(s): By Indian Navy
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar addressing the Commanders during the inaugural session. Also seen in the photograph is the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba

The biannual Naval Com - manders’ Conference 2, 2016, was held under the aegis of Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) from October 25 to 27, 2016.

During the inaugural session, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar had addressed the Naval Commanders on October 25, 2016. During his address, Parikkar complimented all personnel of the Indian Navy for ensuring maritime security of the country. Taking note of the wide expanse of naval activities spread across the oceans, he appreciated the high tempo of operations sustained in the last six months and efforts put in for maritime security and coastal security in the areas of interest of the country. The Raksha Mantri also reviewed the pace of modernisation of Indian Navy, progress of various acquisition and infrastructure related cases.

Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), presided over the threeday conference which was his first after assuming the office on May 31, 2016. He addressed the Naval Commanders on various important issues pertaining to operational readiness, capability enhancement, infrastructure development and human resource management, all of crucial importance for the Indian Navy. Coming in the close aftermath of recent events, the conference provided an invaluable opportunity for the top-level leadership of the Indian Navy to review the operational environment and readiness of the maritime forces to deal with the entire range of prevailing as well as emerging challenges and threats. Such a review at the macro level is undertaken for the mid-course correction, if deemed necessary for the charted course to be pursued in a proficient manner.

As is customary the conference, held over three days, deliberated upon the ever-increasing dynamism in the maritime domain, especially in India’s neighbourhood, and the enhanced range of tasking and consequential expectations thereof from the Indian Navy. The deliberations during the conference encompassed a comprehensive review of operational preparedness, training and resource availability to efficiently carry out the roles, responsibilities and mission assigned to the Indian Navy. Commanders also took stock of the progress achieved in integrating newly inducted state-of-the-art naval platforms into the overall operational capability and their deployment as force multipliers in any future scenario. The CNS also reviewed the progress of various infrastructure projects that are in the pipeline and shall be vital to contribute towards capacity building.

Coastal Security construct was deliberated and reviewed during the Conference. The CNS expressed his satisfaction over the steady progress made in strengthening the coastal security apparatus, viz. induction of fast interceptor crafts, immediate support vessels and NC3 I project. He asserted the need to remain ever vigilant and focused towards coastal security responsibilities through proactive coordination with other maritime agencies and coastal states considering the increasing variety of asymmetric threats.

One of the focus areas discussed during the conference was the induction of manpower, aspects pertaining to training and skill development, and welfare of all personnel. Consequent to 2016 being observed as the ‘Year of the Civilian Personnel’ in the Indian Navy, progress of various policy initiatives taken towards enhancing transparency in personnel policies and improving the ‘ease of doing business’ in the service were also reviewed.

The CNS stated that men and women behind the machine are the Navy’s greatest strength and are our greatest asset and their morale and well-being should always remain our primary concern. The discussions also focused on the future road map for employment of women in the Navy.

The conference also provided the Naval Commanders an opportunity to interact with the Ministry of Defence officials and the Defence Research and Development Organisation wherein a range of issues were discussed.

In his closing address the CNS complimented all personnel of the Indian Navy for their professionalism and patriotism and exhorted them to prepare themselves and the Indian Navy to meet all future maritime security challenges before the country. Combat readiness should remain our collective focus at any given time and operational effectiveness should be the touchstone of all our efforts, he said. The Navy’s role is not only vital for national security, but also for national prosperity and development, he concluded.