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Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief's statement on the eve of Navy Week

Mumbai: December 4,2012

The Indian Navy celebrates Navy Week during the first week of December and the Navy Day on 04 Dec, the date on which naval ships bombarded Karachi harbour with their missiles during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.  Events this year include a Harbour Cruise for Differently-abled Children and Senior Citizens, air display for Differently-abled Children, a Day at Sea for School Children and Naval veterans, Band Performances at public places, an Open Sea Swimming Competition and visits by the public to Naval Ships.  During this period, Naval ships will also visit various ports in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka to enable local populace to see these ships.  The Navy Day is traditionally celebrated every year on 4th December.


As far as Navy’s efforts towards securing Maritime frontiers for prosperity of nation are concerned, intensive patrols continue to be undertaken by Western Naval Command ships off the Somalian Coast (Gulf of Aden) and IOR nations in western seaboard, to counter Piracy against merchant ships and instill confidence amongst our sea faring community.  In addition, ships of Western Naval Command in conjunction with the Coast Guard area also deployed off our own islands for anti-piracy patrols.


The President’s Fleet Review was held at Mumbai on 20 Dec 11 wherein Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Her Excellency, the former President of India had reviewed more than 80 ships/submarines of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, the SCI and the Sea Cadet Corps at Mumbai anchorage.  In addition about 40 naval and Coast Guard aircraft of various types participated in the Fly past.


During the current year, our ships from this Command have undertaken an Overseas Deployment (OSD) to various parts of Europe, Africa, Gulf of Aquba and Gulf of Aden.  There were also extensive professional and social interactions with the host nations during the OSD.  These add to project our nation as an important seafaring nation.


The IN ships participated in the Indo-French Naval Exercise VARUNA off Toulon as well as in the ‘Year of India’ celebrations at St. TROPEZ, France.  In addition, the ships undertook Passage Exercises with the Navies of Egypt, Israel and Spain.  Later during the year, two ships of the Command viz IN ships Delhi and Deepak undertook an Overseas Deployment to participate in the India Brazil South Africa Maritime Exercise (IBSMAR).


As part of the engagement with foreign navies, ships of this Command participated in three major combined exercises, namely NASEEM AL BAHR in Dec 11 with the Royal Navy of Oman, VARUNA 12 with the French Navy in Jul 12 and Ex IBSAMAR III with the navies of Brazil and South Africa in Oct 12.  On various occasions, ships of the Command also participated in PASSEXs with the navies of South Korea, Australia, France, Japan, Russia and Indonesia.  Further, INS Betwa, an indigenously-built Frigate from this Command participated in the annual Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition (DIMDEX) held in Qatar in Mar 12.  DIMDEX is one of the most keenly watched events in the naval calendar all over the world and the participation of INS Betwa as an apt testimony to the growing prowess of the Indian warship building industry.  Ships and aircraft of the Western Naval Command are continuously deployed throughout the year on EEZ surveillance of friendly foreign countries on their request.


The sailing vessel ‘Mhadei’, skippered by Lt Cdr Abhilash Tomy, was flagged off at Gateway of India on 01 Nov 12 for ‘Sagar Parikrama II’, the first non-stop solo circumnavigation voyage.  The vessel is expected to return after 180 days deployment without any port visits enroute.


Western Naval Command has accorded a concerted thrust to the issue of Maritime security.  This Command, which also handles the complex task of coastal Security of the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, has initiated a series of actions over the past year to ensure that a continuous vigil is maintained against any threat from the sea.  Towards this, the Command has integrated the various maritime stakeholders into one coastal security matrix to ensure that all efforts towards coastal security are synergized.  Biannual State-wise Coastal Security exercises, which have been given the generic name ‘SAGAR KAVACH’. have been undertaken during the year.  As a result, all stakeholders involved in the task of protecting the coast are now working with enhanced coordination.  A dedicated data collection drive in order to map the various coastal villages, fishing harbours, jetties and landing points has been undertaken.  Exhaustive data has been collected and is being incorporated in the data bank at the JCO (MB).  In addition to data collection, continuous profiling of fishing activity along the West Coast is also in progress.  The data on the number, pattern, density and distribution of fishing boats is being collated on a monthly basis and is being maintained at JOC (MB).  The Indian Navy is also providing training assistance to Marine Police personnel from the coastal states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka.


Improving jointmanship amongst the three services continues to be a priority area for the Navy and towards this aim; three major exercises have been conducted during the year, namely, TROPEX-12 in Feb 12, TATRAKSHA in Jun 12 and DGX-12 in Oct 12.  Further, activities such as Joint work up with the IAF and Special Forces exercises have been held on several occasions to enhance jointmanship and interoperability.


The Western Naval Command has also deployed its assets on several occasions, to assist civil administration.  On 21 Jun12, six fire fighting teams with equipment were deployed to provide assistance for fire-fighting at Mantralaya in Mumbai.  On 09 Sep 12, naval ships also assisted in the fire fighting operations undertaken on MV Amsterdam, which reported major fire whilst leaving Mumbai harbour.  On several occasions, Naval helicopters were deployed to evacuate personnel for medical attention.  This included evacuation of personnel from German Naval ship Bremen on 14 Aug 12, MV Vishva Vikas on 20 Aug 12 and MV Maharashi Krishna Treya on 05 Nov 12.  Diving teams from the command at Mumbai, Goa and Karwar have also provided assistance to civil authorities at short notice for search and rescue missions ranging from recovery of drowned personnel to recovery of sunken boats.


Three new ships were inducted into the WNC over the past year, INS Teg, the first ship of the follow on Talwar class, was commissioned on 27 Apr 12 and INS Tarkash, the second ship, on 09 Nov 12.  INS Makar, the first Catamaran Hull Survey Vessel built at Alcock Ashdown Gujarat Limited shipyard at Bhavnagar was commissioned on 21 Sep 12.  Three Kolkata class destroyers are presently under various stages of construction at the Mazagaon Docks Ltd. Mumbai.  These ships would have 80% of indigenous content which would also include the Brahmos missiles.  Construction of six Scorpene submarines is also in full swing at the Mazagaon Docks and nearing delivery.


The Naval Dockyard, Mumbai is continuously striving to achieve the goal of quality refits of ships and submarines on time and thus ensuring a high state of operational availability of these platforms.


To sum up, the Western Naval Command continues to fulfill the roles and responsibility assigned to it with full commitment and dedication, and is ready to meet all the challenges in the Service of the nation.

PIB Release/MH/253

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