Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Thursday said that the Indian Navy was prepared to face the dual challenges from COVID-19 and China, adding that they are determined to stand steadfast in these testing times.
“COVID-19 and Chinese attempts to change status quo along northern borders have posed new challenges. The Navy is prepared to face both these challenges,” Admiral Singh said at a press conference.
When asked about the Navy’s role in dealing with threats from China, he said that the Navy’s activities are in “close coordination and synergy” with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force.
“We have deployed the P-8I aircraft at various locations on the requirement of Army and Indian Air Force. In addition, we have deployed the Heron surveillance drones on the northern borders,” he said.
SOP to deal with Chinese infringement
Admiral Singh further said that they have an SOP ready to tackle the situation if there is an infringement by Chinese research vessels.
“As of now, three Chinese warships are in the Indian Ocean region. The Chinese have been maintaining three ships since 2008 for anti-piracy patrols,” he added.
India and China have been locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May, So far, the sides have held eight rounds of high-level military talks to end the impasse with no major headway. The over six-month-long border tension flared up in June when 20 Indian soldiers were martyred in a face-off between the Indian and Chinese troops.
‘Focus on enhancing underwater capabilities’
The Navy chief said that they are concentrating on further building its underwater capabilities, adding that the shape of maritime theatre command will come out after some time.
He also said that 41 of the 43 warships and submarines will be built for the Navy in the future and that all will be made in India including the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier.
“Indian Navy is procuring Smash-2000 combat-proven Fire Control System as anti-drone equipment to protect against attacking drones. Acquisition of 30 Predator drones for the three services is on and those drones would be much more capable,” Admiral Singh said.
“We are very clear that airpower at sea is required. If you are a nation that is aspirational and wants to be a five trillion economy and don’t want to be tethered to the shores…aircraft carriers are absolutely essential,” he added.
‘Nobody can play mischief at sea against India’
Earlier on Wednesday, Vice Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, said that the Indian Navy played an important role in preventing any misadventure by the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean Region during the border standoff between the two countries.
“I think the message has gone across to them very unambiguously that do not mess with us at sea and also at land for that matter… I don’t think that anybody can play mischief at sea against India,” he asserted.
Vice Admiral Chawla had also said the Indian Navy is focusing on enhancing its capabilities. “Our forces have operational capabilities. We remain strong. We remain prepared…,” he said, PTI reported.