Port Wings News Network:
Indian Navy celebrates Navy Day each year on 4 December to commemorate its glorious victory 46 Years ago in the Indo-Pak War of 1971 and to salute the valiant heroes who brought us this moment of pride.
Delivering the Navy Day Message onboard INS Sumitra near Chennai, Rear Admiral Alok Bhatnagar, Flag Officer Tamil Nadu & Puduchery Naval Area, said, “This year is even more special as we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Eastern Naval Command and Indian Navy’s Submarine Arm.”
ERA OF RAPID GLOBALIZATION
This era of rapid globalization and complex economic interdependencies, India’s growth has become increasingly dependent on the security of trade and commerce. With over 90% of our trade being water borne, the role of Indian Navy in nation building has assumed larger proportions. Coupled with threats of maritime piracy and maritime terrorism, the role of the Navy has gained primacy.
Rear Admiral Alok Bhatnagar stated: “Indian Navy therefore endeavors to evolve and modernize continuously to be able to thwart any kind of aggression and meet emerging challenges to our maritime interests. The Navy’s focus has been to evolve a force structure commensurate with the geopolitical and economic aspirations of the nation. Our force structure a three dimensional Navy and therefore includes aircraft carriers, stealth frigates, destroyers, corvettes, amphibious ships, nuclear powered submarines, conventional submarines ad smaller crafts.”
INDUCTION TO AUGMENT OUR SURVEILLANCE
Rear Admiral Alok Bhatnagar stated: “Indian Navy is also inducting state – of – the art fixed wing aircraft and helicopters to augment our surveillance and integral aviation capabilities. Indian Navy’s efforts towards indigenization of equipment and emphasis on domestic ship-building capability are in keeping with ‘Make in India’ policy of the government and have promoted domestic industry and Defence capability.”
In consonance with India’s ‘Look East’ policy, The Eastern Naval Command, headquarters at Visakhapatnam, has become home to force multipliers, such as INS Chakra Nuclear Powered Submarine, P8I ling range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, MIG 29 K Fighter aircraft, advance jet trainer aircraft, INS Kamorta class ASW corvette, INS Sarya class Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel and Amber Project (VLF Transmitter for Submarines). The most potent of these force multipliers, the long range p8I aircrafts and Remotely Piloted Aircrafts are based and operated form Naval Air Stations in Tamil Nadu.
OVERALL MARITIME SECURITY CALCULUS
Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have assumed a primacy in the overall maritime security calculus. The Indian Navy has accordingly upgraded the Naval organization in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and it is now headed by an Officer of the rank of Rear Admiral.
Rear Admiral Alok Bhatnagar stated: “It has been very satisfying for me to be at the helm and steer all operational and admin activities in TN&P Naval Area over the last two years. I am happy to report the enhanced synergy between Indian Navy, State Government, Coastal Security group and all other agencies. We are also at advanced stages of consultation with state government and other central agencies towards expansion of Naval footprint in Tamil Nadu. We are confident of complete support of the state government for allotting us, much required land for infrastructure augmentation. We aim to make an important Naval Base at Chennai by creating the required Naval support infrastructure. This in turn will also contribute to economy of Chennai & TN in the long run.”
The Flag Officer Commanding Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Naval Area or FOTNA in short, operating under the Operational and Administrative command of Flag Officer Commanding–in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, has a flotilla of ships under his Command at Tamil Nadu and can call for aircraft and RPSs for air support to augment surveillance efforts.
ACTIVITIES OF FOTNA
FOTNA is also tasked to provide Local Naval Defence at off shore installations and number of important vital installations located along the TN & P Coast. Ships based at Chennai have been actively deployed in Palk Bay to protect our National Interests and thwart any breech of our Maritime Boundary Line. We have also been assisting the Tamil Nadu government in preventing movement of non-bonafide personnel, smuggling of contraband items, poaching of banned creatures and search and rescue of stranded fishermen at sea. In the event of hostilities we are responsible for ensuring freedom of navigation in the high seas and continued shipping operations from our ports to enable uninterrupted movement of essential supplies.
Indian Navy, in close consultation with the state government, the Coast Guard, the Coastal Security Group, CISF, Fisheries, Ports, Customs, Animal Husbandry and Intelligence Bureau has been taking several initiatives to strengthen Coastal Security in Tamil Nadu. Towards this end, a high level APEX committee meeting to review the Coastal Security of the State of Tamil Nadu co-chaired by the flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Easter Naval Command and Chief Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu is held every year. The next edition of the meeting is scheduled in Jan 2018.
ndian Navy is committed to support our fishermen and ensure that they are provided with a safe environment to fish and earn their livelihood. Towards this, an International Maritime Boundary Line Meeting between Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Sri Lankan Navy and Coast Guard is held biannually. The next meeting will be scheduled in Jan 2018.
Indian Navy is general and this Headquarters in particular has always been on the forefront in contributing towards environmental and social obligations. To this effect we have taken initiative by contributing towards a healthy environment by organizing beach clanship, plantation drives and implementing measures to reduce pour carbon footprint. On the social front, community interactions are undertaken by all units at Tamil Nadu to sensitize the local populace. Indian Navy also organizes free medical camps at remote locations to provide free health checkups and medicines to the under privileged.
We also contribute nationally and internationally in providing support during natural disasters and our ships are always ready lending a helping hand. The Indian Navy has built up a reputation in being the first responders to provide relief in South East Asia. Nationally also, Navy has contributed immensely toward HADR after the Chennai floods in 2015 and more recently after Cyclone Vardha.
One of the important roles played by Indian Navy is a small contribution towards all-round development of the next generation. In addition to motivational visits to local schools by our units we also organize visits by School children to our ships based at Chennai. These visits serve as window of opportunity for the next generation which, I am sure, will contribute towards nation buildings.
“I take this opportunity to thank the State Government, the people of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Chennai Port, the Coastal Security Group and all other Central and State Organization / agencies for their unstinted support towards discharging our responsibilities,” he added.
“On this Navy Day, we renew our pledge to secure India’s maritime assets and further her maritime interests, wherever required, and reassure our countrymen that we will always live up to their expectations, both in times of peace and war in consonance with theme of Naval activities for 2017 “Indian Navy-Combat Ready Force For National Security,” he added.