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New Delhi, August 19, 2020
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today lauded the Indian Navy for the evacuation of Indian nationals from various countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delivering the inaugural address at the Naval Commanders’ Conference, the Minister said the conduct of the biggest ever repatriation operation "Operation Samudra Setu", has contributed extensively to the national interest.
Despite the difficult sea conditions and the challenges of dealing with an unseen enemy in the form of the coronavirus, the Navy was instrumental in bringing home almost 4,000 people from neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Also, under "Mission Sagar", medical aid was provided to the countries of the South-West Indian Ocean Region (Maldives, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles and Madagascar). He lauded the efforts of all Naval Commands in setting up of the quarantine facilities to aid the civil administration in managing COVID-19.
He complimented the men and women of the Indian Navy for their role in protecting the maritime interests of the nation and expressed confidence in the Indian Navy’s preparedness to meet any challenge through a proactive response in deploying its ships and aircraft.
Rajnath Singh said, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has effectively carried out Mission-Based Deployment to protect maritime interests by deploying naval ships and aircraft at major and sensitive locations.
Since its commencement in June 2017, the deployments have facilitated enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), provided swift Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the Indian Ocean Region littorals and security to the international maritime community, he added.
Speaking on the dynamic changes taking place in the armed forces, he highlighted the creation of the post of CDS and Department of Military Affairs/MoD (DMA) as major milestones in bringing more synergy among the three services, especially in training, procurement and staffing and bringing jointness in operations.
Accepting the challenges arising out of the COVID 19 situation in the current financial year, the Indian Navy has continued to progress the operational, administrative and modernization efforts. Notwithstanding these fiscal challenges, the government has invoked the emergency powers to meet the emergent requirements of the services, he added.
Speaking on Indian Navy’s proven commitment towards "Atmanirbhar Bharat" in consonance with the "Make in India" initiative of the Government, he appreciated that the Navy has been at the forefront of the indigenisation process. He also stated that it is important that India kept pace with the successes which have been achieved so far. The recently inaugurated NIIO (Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organization) was one such step.
On arrival, the Defence Minister was received by Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff and was briefed on the innovations carried out by the Indian Navy in fighting the pandemic. These included various equipment developed/designed by the Navy, being effectively utilised by various agencies.