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SOURCE: PTI

The Indian Navy is well prepared to live up to its role as the net security provider in the Indian Ocean, Vice Admiral M S Pawar, Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command, said here today. Many countries in the region look up to the Indian Navy for support and training, Vice Admiral Pawar said on the sidelines of the launch of a fuel barge for the INS Vikramaditya, the Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier.

The INS Vikrant, the first indigenous aircraft carrier to be built in India, will soon join the Naval force and will be based in the eastern sea-board, he said.

“The Indian Navy is well-prepared to live up to its role as the net security provider in the Indian Ocean and is capable of meeting any security needs and contingency,” the Vice Admiral said.

Pawar said more than 40 warships are being built for the Navy, almost all being manufactured in India. Admitting that manufacturing of submarines have been delayed, he said “subs have been on a building line for long”.

He, however, hastened to add the second Kalvari class submarine will soon join the Naval forces, while four more are being built at Mazagaon Dock in Mumbai.

He said many countries in the region, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Maldives look up to India for support and training. Pawar said the Navy shipped 400 tonnes of relief to Bangladesh last week.

He said the INS Sumedha, a patrol vessel of the Indian Navy, is engaged in patrolling the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Maldives jointly with the Maldives National Defence Force.

“Last week, an outside fishing vessel was intercepted in the Maldives waters by the INS Sumedha and MNDF personnel and was told to stay away from its territory,” Pawar said.

Regarding the withdrawal of Maldives from ‘Milan 2018’, a joint exercise of navies of various countries held in March, he said, “Changes are constant which we have to reckon with. There may be some ups and downs but overall we share bonds of friendship.”

Many people come from the island nation to India for education and other purposes, the Vice Admiral said, adding that MNDF personnel are also trained at the Indian Navy’s Cochin facility.