Navy spending more time at sea to avoid threats

Navy spending more time at sea to avoid threats

With the emerging geo-political situation, there has been a strategic and tactical change in Indian Navy operations - ships, submarines and aircraft are spending more time at sea.

"Earlier we used to operate more at we operate   at an extended range... This has given us an operational reach and sustainability," Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, said.

During an interaction with reporters on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off the Mumbai harbour, Admiral Luthra said that now Navy is present for more time in "areas of interest".

"We are operating in long-range environment...ships, submarines and aircraft... far away from the coast of India, for a longer duration....we are spending more time at sea," the top Naval commander said.

Asked whether there was any specific threat perception prompting the naval assets to be more at sea, he said, "It is mission based not threat based....we are doing this so that threats do not come up."

Queried whether there was increased presence of Pakistan and China in the Indian Ocean Region and our areas of interest and operations, Admiral Luthra said: "The two countries that you have named has increased presence but we have also increased our monitoring and surveillance....extra-regional nations too have their presence."

Admiral Luthra said that there has been an enhanced surveillance at the Exclusive Economic Zone and also piracy patrol. "Once again there has been a few incidents of piracy but our ships (in Gulf of Aden) has responded well," he said.

"While the Navy continues to perform operations 'far seas', coastal security continues to remain vital to safeguard national interests," he said adding that the Navy faces traditional threats and also non-traditional threats like the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and infiltration from sea route.

According to him, the Tropex exercise - in the Arabian Sea - conducted during January-February along the Western seaboard saw the participation of 52 ships, five submarines and 58 aircraft besides component from Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard.

An operational-level war game was also conducted on the West coast in August. "We are now preparing for Exercise Paschim Lahar during the early part of 2018," Admiral Luthra said.

During the year, he said that there has been many successful weapon firings and the integration of the Kolkata-class ships into the Western Fleet.

Another major exercise was Exercise Malabar, wherein INS Vikramaditya along with aircraft carriers of the United States and Japan exercised together in the Bay of Bengal. Besides, four ships participated in Exercise Varuna with the French Navy in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. INS Tarkash also participated in Exercise Konkan with the Royal Navy.


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