|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||May 31, 2017 09:20 PM EDT|
(Photo : Indian Navy) Two Indian Navy Kolkata-class guided missile stealth destroyers flank a Delhi-class destroyer.
The Indian Navy is ready for "any contingency" that might arise from the increasing presence of warships of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Indian Ocean, India's backyard, said its commander.
Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy Admiral Sunil Lanba said the navy is prepared to take whatever action the government sees as necessary to protect the national interest against both China and Pakistan.
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"We are ready for any contingency and whatever decision (the) government takes. We will fulfill our task," said Adm. Lanba.
He also noted the navy is increasing its presence worldwide, and is proceeding apace with a major warship building program in which 41 warships and submarines are under construction simultaneously.
The admiral is proud of the navy's increasing presence on the international stage.
"Over the years our footprint has been increasing. We have increased our deployment," said Adm. Lanba.
"We have a ship that is permanently stationed in the Gulf of Aden and the ship of the Western Fleet has just done a foray into Mediterranean and gone all the way into Atlantic."
The aim of the massive warship building program is to "have a capable and effective Navy which can operate in all the dimensions," said the admiral.
He noted that India has built over 200 ships since the early 1960s, and presently "we have 41 ships and submarines, all are under construction in defense and private shipyards and new assets are being inducted into the Navy."
Focus is being laid on completing construction of Scorpene-class (Kalvari-class) diesel-electric attack submarines; Kolkata-class (Project 15A) guided-missile destroyers; Visakhapatnam-class (Project 15B) guided missile destroyers; the Vikrant-class aircraft carrier and India's first domestically developed and built nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the INS Arihant.
Adm. Lanba also said cooperation with other regional navies is increasing. The Indian Navy recently concluded the Singapore-Indian Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) with the Republic of Singapore Navy.
The exercise involved four warships of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet and a Boeing P-8I Neptune advanced maritime patrol/anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
Later this month, India and Australia will conduct bilateral naval war games known as Exercise AUSINDEX for the second time.
Australia's Ministry of Defense said Australia and India "are building on the positive momentum in our defense relationship to deepen engagement and to increase the consistency and complexity of our existing activities."
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