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Ensure maritime security in Indian Ocean region: Parrikar

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday asked naval commanders to ensure maritime security in the Indian Ocean which has become a region of high economic activity.

Addressing top naval officers at the Commanders Conference here, Parrikar also complimented the force for ensuring greater women participation in the force, a day after Navy announced that seven women officers of Short Service Commission batch of 2008-09 have been granted permanent commission.

"My point was very clear. Indian Ocean region is becoming a region of high activity, not necessarily activity that are a risk to our security but they could become a risk," he told reporters.

Parrikar said with greater economic interest in the area, there are more chances of either a mishap or some disaster like oil spill happening.

"Some pirates can think it is a better place. There are various possibilities that can happen with increased frequency of various commercial interest and presence of navies of other countries. We need to have enough strength to ensure we can protect ourselves," he said.

He said India should create capabilities and capacities which it was slow in acquiring.

Asked about presence of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean, he said, "We watch everything, not specifically China but, we watch everything".

The conference will review various aspects involving operations, acquisition of assets, personnel and logistics issues.

The three-day conference will primarily focus on reviewing the combat readiness and operational preparedness of the Navy including coastal security, to address the dynamic security challenges in the Indian Ocean region.

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