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Nirmala Sitharaman Assures Support To Navy's Efforts To Plug Critical Capability Gaps

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured support to the Indian Navys efforts to bridge critical capability gaps and its long-term capability acquisition plans during the four-day Naval Commanders Conference that concluded on Friday.

The Conference, which was inaugurated by Ms Sitharaman who had set the tone for the deliberations stating that the Indian Navy was a force to reckon with in the Indo-Pacific region, held intense deliberations on a wide range of issues, a Defence Ministry release said.

Amid China's presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Navy has flagged its need for ship-borne helicopters, fleet support ships and submarines.

The Defence Minister also extended support to the long-term capability acquisition plans of the Navy formulated with a strategic view of the Indo-Pacific region.

The imperative need for approval of the second indigenous aircraft carrier for the Navy was also deliberated upon.

A number of other shipbuilding projects, which are in the pipeline or are already underway include Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs), Landing Platform Dock (LPD), Anti-Submarine Shallow Water Craft, Diving Support Vessels and Survey Vessels.

The Conference also undertook a review of the Navy's mission-based deployments. The review was aimed at maximising benefits accrued from the deployment of Indian Naval ships and aircraft to critical areas in the IOR.

Measures such as information sharing with other navies as well as combining defence diplomacy initiatives such as bilateral exercises and port visits into these deployments are planned to be undertaken.

The Navy's new transition cycle for ships from maintenance to operations was also reviewed at the Conference. The new transition cycle has resulted in the overall improvement of operation logistics, spares management and forecasting, refit planning and expenditure management.

A new digital library for knowledge management and retrieval including archiving of critical data and information was also inaugurated during the Conference. This was complemented by deliberations on the security and hardening of naval data networks in keeping with contemporary cyber security practices.

"Practical plans to incorporate big data analytics and artificial intelligence into the blue water force's operational functioning have also been formulated," the release said.

The Naval Commanders also interacted with Union government's Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian as also the Chiefs of the Army and Air Force. The next Conference is scheduled for October this year.

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