Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta said on Friday that the ENC has been at the forefront in safeguarding maritime interests in the region and beyond.
Addressing a press conference here in connection with the navy day celebrations aboard 'INS Jalashwa' , he said the focus of the Eastern Naval Command has been and would continue to remain the combat readiness of its operational platforms, so that they can deploy proactively and respond swiftly to any situation across the spectrum of maritime operations.
He said Navy Day is celebrated on December 4 every year in remembrance of the decisive victory at sea in the 1971 conflict. Dasgupta said the situational awareness at sea of the maritime domain was awareness, as the navy calls it the primary enabler of maritime operations. "If we do not know who is present or what is happening in our area of operations, we will not be able to act in a befitting manner. You will be happy to learn that the indian navy has very potent facilities to develop situational awareness at sea and very little happens in our maritime areas of interest without our knowledge."
He said the Navy has 130 ships, including warships and others, 60 helicopters of all types and four submarines. He said the ENC is getting ready to host two events of significant national and international importance. The President's Fleet Review will be held on February 21 next year, during which the city would host nearly 50 ships from the navy, Coast Guard and Indian Merchant Marine for review, followed by a flypast by nearly 50 aircraft.
From February 25 onwards, ships and delegates from over 45 friendly nations are expected to visit the city to participate in the prestigious MILAN event, which is essentially a gathering of friendly navies for professional interactions. Dasgupta said the event is hosted once every two years by the Navy and for the first time MILAN would be held at Visakhapatnam as previous versions were conducted at Port Blair. "The aim of MILAN is to foster brotherhood, cooperation and interoperability between friendly foreign navies," he said.
He said the ENC has also been prompt in rendering support to civil administrations and foreign governments during natural disasters and contingencies. Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations were undertaken in the wake of cyclones Yaas and Gulab and after the recent floods in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Dasgupta said that during the Covid pandemic, the navy conceptualised and extended a first of its kind project here, a container based medical facility on board amphibious ship 'INS Gharial." "This facility has just been made operational and provides a unique and flexible capability of extending medical aid at sea or in other parts in times of need," he said.
Dasgupta said the ENC is ready to assist the national effort in every manner possible in the event of a third Covid wave or during any other contigency. Despite the severe challenges posed by Covid over the past two years, ships, submarines and aircraft of the command have remained fully alert, deployed proactively and contributed significantly to the national effort in dealing with the unprecedented pandemic situation, he said.
-With PTI Inputs