The Vice President, Jagdeep Dhankhar today emphasized that India's economic growth and global ascendancy necessitate a modernized Navy to protect nations maritime interests and shoulder additional responsibilities particularly in the current geo-political and security situation that prevails in the Indian Ocean region.
Recognising the enhanced capability of India’s naval force, he underlined country’s role as the net security provider in the Indo-Pacific region, and also described India as “an important global player to secure and ensure a peaceful, Rule-Based Maritime Regime, which is facing many challenges at the moment.”
Addressing a gathering after the launch of Mahendragiri - the last of the seven-warships of the Nilgiri-class stealth frigates under Project 17A in Mumbai today, Shri Dhankhar described it as “an apt testament to the incredible progress our nation has made in building a self-reliant naval force”.
Praising Navy’s resolute commitment to Atma-Nibhartha, the Vice-President also appreciated the significant role of our micro, small and medium enterprises in the construction of this Warship. “75% of the orders for equipment and systems of the Nilgiri class have been made to indigenous firms”, he applauded.
He also lauded the launches of five warships of the same class in about 15 months calling it “a feat that makes us all proud”.The Vice-President stressed that India had always been a sea-faring nation, being home to the earliest docks in the world such as Lothal.
He further highlighted that “Over 90% of the India’s trade by volume and over 68% by value, moves through maritime routes at present.” and by 2047, “Bharat will surely emerge as a global leader and a stabilizing force” he said.
Describing the role played by Women today in the defence forces as a turning point, the Vice-President underscored that from the establishment of Short Service Commission in 1992, to June 2023, India saw the integration of women into all branches, cadres, and specializations of defence forces. “We are an example to the world, with the kind of assignment that women are handling.” he added.
Amidst the varied challenges faced in the Indian Ocean Region encompassing concerns like piracy, smuggling of narcotics, human trafficking, illegal migration and natural disasters, the Vice-President underlined the courage, competence and commitment of the Indian Navy's as “a true force multiplier” which vindicated challenges in an exemplary manner while also cooperating with multiple partners ensuring economic growth & security in the region under the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative.
Complementing the role of India Navy during natural disasters “as a vehicle of peace and goodwill during the crisis”, VP expounded that the damage to life and property during natural calamities have been considerably reduced due to their persistent efforts during challenging times.
Referring to INS Vikrant, country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier commissioned just one year ago, Shri Dhankhar said that “Vikrant stands as a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous skills and our ambitions to ride over high-tides.”
Talking about the upsurge in the indigenous defence production crossing the milestone of One lakh crore in F.Y 2022-23, the Vice-President stressed that “India’s maritime strength is quintessential for our economic and strategic upsurge.
” Praising the Government initiatives like the Innovations for Defence Excellence (i-DEX) scheme to involve Start-ups and setting of the Directorate of Indigenisation, he called them “impactful steps in the right direction”.
Citing the recent success of Chandrayaan-3 moon mission, where the Trianga is stamped on the Shiv-Shakti point, the Vice-President expressed hope that “Mahendragiri, once commissioned, will proudly fly the Tiranga across the oceans, as an ambassador of India’s maritime might.”
Shri Ramesh Bais, the Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Eknath Shinde, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Ajit Pawar, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff, Shri Sanjeev Singhal, CMD, MDL and other eminent dignitaries were present.