Antony pulls up Navy on INS Sindhurakshak sinking
Pulling up the Navy on the sinking of the INS Sindhurakshak submarine in which 18 personnel lost their lives, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday asked the force “not to fritter away” such expensive national resources.
Against the backdrop of incidents where some naval officers have been allegedly involved in sex scandals, the Defence Minister said, “There have been some isolated cases which have proved to be a cause for serious concern and embarrassment.
“It is imperative to pay utmost attention to such instances and make earnest efforts to minimise, if not eliminate them,” he said at the Naval Commanders’ Conference.
On the INS Sindhurakshak incident, Mr. Antony said there was a need to “seriously reflect upon the unprecedented tragedy, analyse it and also draw lessons for future even as attempts to salvage the submarine and an inquiry to ascertain the possible cause of the accident is already under way.”
Mr. Antony said, “It must be ensured that safety mechanisms are accorded topmost priority and Standard Operating Procedures adhered to strictly and without any exception.”
The Defence Minister observed that a significant amount of national resources are utilised for nation building capabilities and “it is the responsibility of the Navy to optimally operate and maintain these assets and hardware, as well as train its personnel suitably so that such national resources are optimally utilised and are not frittered away.”
The Sindhurakshak had sunk on August 14 with 18 personnel on board and a Board of Inquiry is still on to find out the exact causes behind the accident.
The Defence Minister, however, complimented the Navy on the commissioning of INS Vikramaditya and MiG 29K, saying, “the aircraft carrier has the potential to become a force multiplier in enhancing the combat capability of the Navy.”
He said the launch of the indigenous aircraft carrier is a crucial milestone for the country as it has placed India in a select group of six nations which can design and operate aircraft carriers.
“The fact that all 45 naval ships presently under construction are being built in India is ample proof of our indigenous ship building capability,” the Minister said.
Mr. Antony said the achievement of criticality of the nuclear reactor on-board the INS Arihant is a major boost to our strategic deterrence capability.
“Once we reach the next milestone, namely commencement of sea trials of the submarine, it would make India only the sixth nation in the world to build and operate nuclear-powered submarines.
“This would mark another stride forward in realising our long cherished objective of achieving nuclear triad capability,” he said.
He said the launch of GSAT-7 satellite will also significantly increase the country’s net-centric capabilities.
Turning to geopolitical and security matrices in and around the country, Antony said these have been changing and evolving at a rapid pace.
He expressed satisfaction that the Navy has maintained a fairly high operational tempo particularly over the past six months despite the extended monsoon.
“The Navy has remained focused on maritime and coastal security in collaboration with other organisations and agencies,” he said.