One of the focus areas discussed during the conference was the induction of manpower, aspects pertaining to training and skill development, and welfare of personnel. Consequent to 2015 being observed as the ‘Year of the Sailor’ in the Indian Navy, service conditions of sailors and their quality of life (including post retirement placements, accommodation and hospital facilities etc.) were deliberated extensively. The CNS stated that our men and women are our greatest assets and their morale and well-being should always remain of primary concern. The men and women behind the machine are the Navy’s greatest strength. They need to be viewed and harnessed as such at all levels.
The indigenisation programme of the Navy was discussed and the CNS stressed that indigenisation of platforms, weapons, sensors and equipment, through DRDO, public and private sectors as also through in-house efforts, should remain an area of focus. He emphasized that the ‘Roadmap for the Navy’s expansion and growth would continue to remain anchored on Self-reliance and Indigenisation’. He also urged the naval designers and technical officers to work in close coordination with DRDO so as to develop niche technologies for the future Navy.
During the course of the conference, the CNS released the Maritime Infrastructure Perspective Plan (2015-27) and reviewed progress of various infrastructure projects that are in the pipeline and shall contribute towards capacity building. The need to adopt sustainable green technologies, re-cycling and waste management to reduce carbon footprint of our bases, in pursuance of the energy goals of our country as also to have ‘zero carbon footprint’ were also stressed by the CNS. An integrated roadmap and action plan to develop ecologically sustainable infrastructure was also released by the CNS. Plans for conduct of International Fleet Review and induction plan for Scorpene submarines were also reviewed by the CNS.
Consolidation and strengthening of the rapidly expanding aviation arm of the Navy was discussed. Deliberations were also held on infrastructure and manning requirements for new induction aircraft, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and enhancement of surveillance in our area of interest.
The CNS reviewed the ‘coastal security construct’ and was satisfied with the steady progress made in strengthening the coastal security apparatus viz. induction of FICs, ISVs and NC3 I project. He asserted the need to remain ever vigilant and focussed towards our coastal security responsibilities, through proactive coordination with other maritime agencies and coastal states. Deliberations were also held to strengthen ‘Cyber Security in the Indian Navy’.
Various proposals from the Indian Navy have been forwarded for consideration of the 7th CPC to ensure that the aspirations and expectations of Indian Navy personnel, along with the difficult conditions of service on board operational platforms are recognized. A comprehensive review of proposals forwarded to the 7th Central Pay Commission which included conditions of service and emoluments paid to the Armed Forces personnel was undertaken by the CNS during the course of deliberations.
One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity naval commanders’ had to interact with the MoD officials and the other service chiefs, wherein issues pertaining to joint operations and military synergy were discussed.
In his closing address the CNS complimented all personnel of the Indian Navy for their professionalism and patriotism, and exhorted them to prepare themselves and the Navy to meet all future maritime security challenges before the country. Operational consideration should remain our collective focus in the coming years, he said. The Navy’s role is not only vital for national security, but also for national prosperity and development, he concluded.