Port Wings News Network:
Indian Navy celebrates Navy Day each year on fourth December to commemorate its glorious victory 47 years ago in the Indo-Pak War of 1971 and to salute the valiant heroes who brought us this moment of pride.
In 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.
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 develop a force structure commensurate with the geopolitical and economic aspirations of the nation. Hence, Our force structure factors is a three dimensional Navy which includes aircraft carriers, stealth frigates, destroyers, corvettes, amphibious ships, nuclear powered submarines, conventional submarines and smaller crafts.
Indian Navy is also inducting state-of-the art fixed wing aircraft and helicopters to augment 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, headquartered at Visakhapatnam, has become home to force multipliers, such as Nuclear Powered Submarines Chakra and Arihant P8I long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, MIG 29 K fighter aircraft, advanced jet trainer aircraft, Kamorta class ASW corvette, INS Saryu 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 from Naval Air Stations in Tamil Nadu.
With the obtaining geo political situation, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have assumed a primacy in the overall maritime security calculus. The Indian Navy has accordingly upgraded the Naval organisation in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and it is now headed by an Officer of the rank of Rear Admiral. 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 three 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 the 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 RPAs for air support to augment surveillance efforts. FOTNA is also tasked to provide Local Naval Defence to off shore installations and a number of important vital installations located along the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast. Ships based at Chennai have been actively deployed in Palk Bay to protect our National Interests and thwart any breech of the International Maritime Boundary Line. We have also been assisting the Tamil Nadu government in preventing movement of non-bona fide personnel, smuggling of contraband items, poaching of banned marine life and search and rescue of stranded fishermen at sea. Towards this the role of Indian Navy was appreciated by the state government as well as the fishing community in the after cyclone Okum and Gaja. As the first responses to disaster relief of Indian Navy use proactively deployed for warning the fishermen days before the storm and continued its duty to provide after the storm had destroyed. 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 Eastern Naval Command and Chief Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu is held every year.
Indian Navy is committed to support our fishermen and ensure that they are provided with a safe environment to fish and earn their livelihood. An International Maritime Boundary Line Meeting between Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Sri Lankan Navy and Sri Lanka Coast Guard is held annually. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled in May 19.
Indian Navy in 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 cleanship, plantation drives and implementing measures to reduce our 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.
Indian Navy also contributes nationally and internationally in providing support during natural disasters and our ships are always ready to lend a helping hand. The Indian Navy has built up a reputation in being the first responders to provide relief in south east Asia.
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 building.