New Delhi: As China increases its military presence in the Indian Ocean, the NDA government has given a green signal to expansion and upgradation plan of the Navy with 56 new ships and submarines.
While addressing a press conference on the eve of the Navy Day here on Monday, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, said, The government has given its approval to having 56 ships and submarines. Some of these will replace the existing fleet and include new ships like fleet ships, submarines and mine sweepers.
The Navy Chief said the construction of the 56 new ships and submarines would be spread across a decade and it would be in addition to the 32 ships and submarines under construction, as of now.
Navy Day is observed on December 4 every year to mark the Navy's attack on Karachi harbor during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.Admiral Lanba said the Indian Navy was the net security provider in the Indian Ocean region and was fully capable to meet the traditional and non-traditional threats and keep the area clean and safe.
When asked about the Indian Navy's preparedness in the event of a simultaneous two-front war, Admiral Lanba said: ``We have overwhelming superiority over Pakistan at sea. In case of China, the balance of power in Indian Ocean is in our favour. Similarly, the balance of power in South China Sea is in favour of China.''
Giving a long-term perspective, the Admiral said that by 2050 Indian Navy would be a world class navy and ``will have 200 ships, 500 aircraft.''
He said the three chiefs had agreed on having a permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC). On theatre commands, he said we needed a high defence organisation before we got to creating theatre commands. We need one operational commander, the three chiefs cannot be operational commands.
On the Make in India efforts, he said as of now, in the past four years, 72 per cent of all contracts are given to India vendors.
On coastal security following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks ten years ago, the Admiral said a pilot project was on to fit Automated Identification System (AIS) transponders on fishing boats had been successful. It will now be implemented across India. There are some 2.2 lakh fishing boats--under 20 metres in length--that do not have AIS transponders. The issue was to have low-cost transponders. I agree it has taken 10 years but soon we will have these transponders on all fishing boats," he said.
He said the transponders have been designed by ISRO and would be monitored by surveillance. ``We are better equipped to deal with threats from terror organizations on the pattern of 26/11. Our coastal security under the overall supervision of the Indian Navy has been upgraded and made foolproof,'' he added. (UNI)