Bi-annual Naval Commanders’ Conference was held from May 2 to 5, 2017, which was attended by all Commanders-in-Chief, senior flag officers of Indian Navy, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Rajya Raksha Mantri, Dr Subhash Bhamre, Asok Gupta, Defence Secretary and other senior functionaries of the Ministry of Defence. During the Conference the toplevel leadership of Navy reviewed major operational, training and administrative activities undertaken in the last six months.
While addressing the conference Defence Minister complimented the Indian Navy for its professionalism and deep commitment towards protecting the maritime interests of the country including the huge maritime boundary as also meeting a large number of international obligations, in line with the country’s defence diplomacy requirements. He spoke about the prevailing and emerging security situation in the sub-continent as also the expanding presence of the extra-regional powers in India Ocean region (IOR). He also referred to the situation on the Western Border and its linkage to the internal security. He urged the Commanders’ to be prepared at all times as “Preparedness was the best Deterrent”.
Acknowledging the various crucial requirements of the Indian Navy, the Defence Minister assured the Commanders that the government was working on all issues very positively and was going to increase the resources to make good the shortfalls soon. He lauded the efforts of India Navy in indigenisation and urged the Commanders to focus on furtherance of domestic expertise building up. Concluding his address, he said that due impetus through appropriate Defence Procurement Policies (such as SP Model which would be finalised soon) was being given to make good the critical capability shortfalls viz. ship borne multi-role helicopters, conventional submarines and mine counter-measure vessels.
Chairing the conference, Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff addressed the Naval Commanders on issues pertaining to operational readiness, capability enhancement, maintenance, operations logistics, infrastructure development and human resource management. He emphasised the need for continued efforts towards modernisation, indigenisation and expanding the Indian Navy’s operational footprint so as to be a stabilising force in IOR.
The Commanders also had an opportunity to interact with senior government officials, as also with the Chiefs of Indian Army and Indian Air Force, who shared their views on the current security situation and the way ahead to enhance Tri-Service synergy and jointmanship. The Foreign Secretary also interacted with the Commanders on the geo-political developments with key focus on the Indian Ocean Region and outlined key imperatives pertaining to our foreign policy and diplomatic initiatives.
Focussed attention was also accorded to associated aspects that included a review of the security measures and mechanisms for coastal defence, infrastructure, force development and logistics support management.
In his closing address, the CNS while complimenting the officers and men for their commitment and professionalism exhorted the Commanders to give focussed attention to address all challenges with the singular aim to be combat ready at all times. He emphasised the importance of quality maintenance and efficient operational logistics towards ensuring combat effectiveness.