President of India
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In Hindi


Mumbai, 23rd December, 2009


It gives me great pleasure to be amongst the personnel of the Indian Navy at the Western Naval Command. At the outset, I congratulate all men and women of the Indian Navy for discharging their duties with a high degree of professionalism, courage and commitment.

The multi-dimensional responsibilities of the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region are important for the prosperity of our nation. The nation reposes implicit faith in the capability and capacity of our maritime forces to protect our sea frontiers and to provide a peaceful environment for maritime trade and other activities.

Terror attacks last year in Mumbai are a grim reminder of the harm that can be perpetuated through the use of the sea route by elements inimical to India. I am aware that numerous measures have been initiated to enhance Coastal Security. The Indian Navy and other stakeholders in the maritime domain are playing a proactive role to bring about synergy and establish Standard Operating Procedures to prevent the re-occurrence of such an incident. I am confident that these efforts would ensure positive results.

Government is committed to the process of modernizing the Indian Navy in keeping with the changing requirements of the Twenty First Century. The launch of 'Arihant' in July this year was an important milestone in this regard for an equitable balance of power in the region. I am informed that many new ships, submarines and aircraft construction and acquisition projects are at various stages of completion and would help transform the Indian Navy to an even more reckonable force. It is, indeed, very satisfying to note that a number of these naval projects are indigenous.

Efforts by the Navy at enhancing maritime domain awareness, network centric operations and leveraging Information Technology are important. I am informed that inductions of new technologies will significantly improve operational capability at sea. The efforts of the Navy in providing marine training to CISF, Marine Police and others for coastal security also deserve credit.

The Indian Navy has always acted with alacrity in all situations, be it humanitarian assistance after the Tsunami and Cyclone Nargis, or safe evacuation of personnel from Lebanon. These wide ranging capabilities are testimony to the professionalism of the naval personnel.

An issue of global concern is the piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The presence of our warships in the area has instilled a sense of confidence in the shipping industry. We now have requests from other countries in the region for increased assistance in surveillance of their Exclusive Economic Zone. These increased expectations from us in maintaining the balance and security in the Indian Ocean Region are recognition of our growing stature. Indeed, the strategic location of India's island territories along the major sea lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean makes it a stabilizing force in the region.

I am told that the Indian Navy has built 'Bridges of Friendship' with other maritime nations. Over the last year, our fleets have sailed and exercised successfully in the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters to the West and the North Pacific to the East. These opportunities will strengthen bilateral relationships, enhance inter-operability and help imbibe the best practices from other navies.

Our Navy today has representation from all remote and far flung areas of the country, operating as a cohesive family on ships, submarines and aircraft. You all are a shining example of camaraderie, team-spirit and esprit de corps. May I exhort you to keep up the good work.

I wish you all success and safety at all times.

Thank you and Jai Hind.

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