India watchful over Osama fallout, says Antony

Thrust to defence modernisation and capacity building

The 26/11 attack had shown that a terror strike could come from anywhere -- land, sea or air space. He said: “Till then we thought the border meant land only.”

Modernisation, capacity building and speeding up of defence production remain his top priorities, the minister said as he commissioned several new infrastructure projects at Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) which is the first defence yard to set up a shiplift facility.

His wife Elizabeth launched the new 105-metre-long Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel which sports a helicopter flight deck. In the third and fourth phases of GSL’s expansion, the yard will get an integrated steel fabrication unit that uses the modular construction technique, dedicated dry berths and modern storage solutions.

The modernisation plan at a cost of Rs 800 crore is transforming the shipyard for cutting edge technology warships, officials here said. GSL has so far been tied down entirely to defence contracts.

Maritime policy

Only combined and cohesive anti-piracy action led by the United Nations (UN) can rid the world of the scourge of piracy, Defence Minister A K Antony said here on Saturday.

“Unless there is combined effort under the United Nations, the effectiveness of fighting piracy won’t be achieved. For that the talks are already going on,” said the minister, who was in Goa to inaugurate the phased modernization programme of the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), a public sector enterprise that builds vessels for the defence ministry.

Speaking to reporters in the port town of Vasco, Antony also asked people not to “expect miracles”, when it came to tackling the issue of international piracy that is hampering global maritime trade.

“Don’t expect miracles. We are continuously strengthening our navy which is working in anti-piracy operations in tandem with other nations like the US, the UK and France,” Antony said, adding that the problem of sea piracy has reached the “backyard of India”.
“The Indian Navy in last one year has substantially increased deployment of its forces in anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Eden along with other nations,” the defence minister said.

‘No politics in defence’

After inaugurating naval township at Amadalli in Karwar taluk, on Saturday, Defence Minister A K Antony remarked: “In defence, no politics.” When asked to comment on the report submitted by Governor H R Bhardwaj seeking suspension of the government in Karnataka, he quipped: “ There should be no room for politics in issues concerning the defence of the nation. All are equal in the domain of defence.”

The second stage of expansion of naval base will cost five times more than the first stage and the report is with the sub-committee of the Central Cabinet. A decision regarding the report will be taken after June, he said. “There is no question of acquiring land for the second stage. Case relating to the disbursal of compensation to the displaced is with the Supreme Court. A decision will be arrived at based on the apex court’s judgment,” the minister said.


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