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SOURCE: ANI

Maritime piracy and smuggling will not be tolerated under any circumstances, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Visakhapatnam on Saturday, adding that this was the promise of a ‘New India’.

He was speaking on the occasion of the commissioning of INS Sandhayak, the first Survey Vessel Large (SVL) ship. The event was marked by the presence of Navy Chief R Hari Kumar and other senior Navy officers.

The ship was commissioned into the Indian Navy in the presence of the Defense Minister at a ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.

He added that such is the strength and assertiveness of the Navy today that it is the first responder when it comes to ensuring the security of the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region.

“When it comes to global trade, the Indian Ocean region is counted as a hotspot. Many choke points such as the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea, among others, are in the Indian Ocean. A large volume of international trade happens in these areas. These choke points are facing multiple threats, the biggest of which is from pirates,” the Defence Minister said.

“We want freedom of navigation, trade and commerce to be maintained at all costs. There should be unimpeded and uninterrupted trade involving different countries. Our growing naval strength and maritime influence are being directed towards stopping narcotics and human trafficking in this region,” Singh said.

The event marked the formal induction into the Navy of the first of four ships of the Survey Vessel Large (SVL) Project under construction at M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.

The project was speaheaded by the Warship Design Bureau of the Indian Navy.