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Top commanders of the Indian Navy carried out a comprehensive review of the security challenges facing the nation in the maritime domain and vowed to work towards boosting the combat capabilities of the force including in the strategically-located island territories.

India on Wednesday commissioned a new naval base, INS Jatayu, at Minicoy in Lakshadweep islands to enhance its combat prowess amid China’s increasing forays into the Indian Ocean region. Ways to further strengthen India’s maritime prowess figured prominently at the naval commanders’ conference that concluded on Friday.

While the inaugural session of the conference was held onboard aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on March 5, much wider deliberations on operational issues took place in the national capital on March 7 and 8.

The Navy said the proceedings in Delhi included a review of major operational, material, infrastructure, logistics and personnel related initiatives.

“Besides, the senior naval leadership reviewed existing and future plans, including capability enhancements in the island territories, to mitigate contemporary and future challenges in the maritime domain,” it said in a statement on Saturday.

“Service chiefs of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force also engaged with the naval commanders, sharing their assessment of the operating environment, outlining readiness levels to defend national interests amidst prevailing and evolving security challenges,” it said.

The Navy said numerous areas and domains to enhance tri-services synergy and cooperation figured in the discussions.

It is learnt that the naval commanders also deliberated on the overall situation arising out of Houthi militants targeting various cargo vessels in the Red Sea and other strategic waterways in the region in response to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

In the last few weeks, the Indian Navy extended assistance to a number of merchant vessels in the Western Indian Ocean following attacks on them.

In his inaugural address at the conference, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh commended the “brave and prompt” response by the Indian Navy to the recent incidents and developments in West Asia and the adjoining seas.

Singh exhorted the commanders to remain poised for operations across the spectrum of conflict while underscoring the leadership role expected of the Indian Navy towards ensuring peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region.

In addition, he emphasised the importance of tri-services jointness and integration to favourably shape and influence the future battlespace.

The naval commanders’ conference serves as a platform for naval commanders to discuss important security issues at the military-strategic level as well as interact with senior government functionaries under an institutionalised framework.

On the sidelines of the conference, the naval commanders also interacted with various think tanks during a ‘Sagar Manthan’ event on Friday.

The forum provided an opportunity to engage with MSMEs, innovators and academia to deliberate ways, means and novel avenues to enhance self-reliance in defence production.