India can give befitting reply to enemies: Ajay Bhatt

Not 1962 anymore, can give befitting reply to all enemies, says MoS (Defence) Ajay Bhatt

Bhatt was speaking at the launch of indigenously designed hydrographic survey vessel 'Sandhayak'

Union minister of state Ajay Bhatt (Right) at the launch of the 'Sandhayak' vessel along with Rear Admiral (retd) and CMD of GRSE, VK Saxena. Credit: PTI Photo

Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt on Sunday said India has moved much ahead of 1962 when the country fought a war with China, and is capable of giving a befitting reply to its enemies in every field in the present day. All corners of the country are safeguarded effectively in land, sea and air, he said.

"We are capable of giving a befitting reply to our enemies in every field. There was once '62 and now we are in the present day," he said, without naming any country.

The Indian Army, which suffered setbacks in the 1962 Sino-India war, has engaged in face-offs with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China on several occasions in recent years.

Bhatt was Speaking at the launch of an indigenously designed hydrographic survey vessel manufactured by Defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd in Kolkata.

These survey ships are capable of full-scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of ports and harbour approaches, and determination of navigational channels and routes. In addition, these ships can undertake the survey of maritime limits and collection of oceanographic and geographical data for defence applications, GRSE sources said.

Whether it is the Army, Air Force or the Navy, they are all alert round-the-clock and the country's borders are safe in their hands, Bhatt said, adding that the government and the people of the country are always with them.

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He said as part of achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi's goal of self-reliance, the government has envisioned a dedicated defence production corridor for generating higher employment for the youth of the country and greater localisation of products.

"In various shipyards across the country, 39 warships and submarines for the Indian Navy are in different stages of construction," the minister said at the programme.

The hydrographic survey vessel is the first of four ships being built by GRSE under the survey vessel (large) project for the Indian Navy, the minister said.

"Named 'Sandhayak' after the Navy's oldest hydrographic survey vessel, which was decommissioned in June this year after serving the nation for 40 years, the new ship is much larger and equipped with modern gadgets," he said, following the launch by his wife Pushpa Bhatt as per maritime traditions.

He said that the first Sandhayak was also built by GRSE.

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The state-of-the-art new ship will be 60 per cent larger than the earlier one, which had been commissioned in 1981. "In its secondary role, the ship can be converted into a hospital ship for requirements during wars or other emergency situations, and can also provide limited defence," Bhatt said.

Rear Admiral (retd) VK Saxena, chairman and managing director of GRSE, said the new Sandhayak is a 3,400-tonne ship, compared to the 1,900-tonne previous version, and was launched with 40 per cent outfitting. This will ensure that delivery of the ship can be done much faster, as normally, 20 to 25 per cent outfitting of a ship is done before it touches the water for the first time.

"The present survey ships are equipped with new generation hydrographic equipment and are testimony to the maturity of our indigenous construction capability towards the realisation of Atmanirbharta (self-reliance)," he said.

For the first time, the launch of the ship was also witnessed by more than 100 students from various schools, NCC cadets and other citizens of Kolkata, including monks from Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan.

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