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Indian Navy an outstanding force: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

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Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, after paying homage to the fallen heroes, on the occasion of Navy Day, at National War Memorial in New Delhi. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday described the Indian Navy as an "outstanding force" as he greeted it on the occasion of Navy Day.

In a tweet, Singh hailed the Indian Navy's professionalism and particularly mentioned its efforts to keep India's sea lanes safe.

"On the occasion of #indiannavyday2020 my greetings and best wishes to all personnel of this outstanding force. The @indiannavy is at the forefront of keeping our seas safe by ensuring maritime security. I salute their valour, courage and professionalism," Singh said.

Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria paid their tributes to the country's fallen heroes at the National War Memorial on the occasion of the Navy Day.

Navy Day is celebrated every year on December 4 to commemorate the Indian Navy's achievement in inflicting heavy damage on Pakistani vessels in Karachi harbour during the India-Pakistan war in 1971.

In a message, Admiral Singh reaffirmed the Navy's steadfast commitment to ensure India's maritime security and territorial integrity.

The Indian Navy has increased its surveillance missions and beefed up operational deployment in the Indian Ocean in the wake of increasing forays into the region by Chinese naval vessels and submarines.

"On the occasion of #NavyDay2020 we reaffirm #IndianNavy's steadfast commitment to the service of the Nation and towards ensuring our maritime security & territorial integrity," Admiral Singh said.

A number of union ministers, diplomats and prominent personalities conveyed their greetings to the Indian Navy on the occasion of the Navy Day.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a tweet, said his ministry has been a close partner of the Navy in securing India's interest abroad and that both sides have jointly delivered on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that has enhanced the country's stature.

"Look forward to continuing this partnership," he said.

US Ambassador Ken Juster too conveyed greetings to the Indian Navy and mentioned last month's "successful" Malabar naval exercise.

"On behalf of the U.S. Mission in India, a very happy #NavyDay to @IndianNavy.We thank you for hosting the US, Japan, and Australia for this year's successful Malabar Exercise and look forward to continued growth in the #USIndiaDefense partnership. Sham No Varunah!," he tweeted.

India had invited Australia to be part of the Malabar exercise this year that effectively made it a drill by all the Quad member nations.

The Quad, comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan, is aimed at ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, a region that witnessed increasing Chinese military assertiveness in the recent years.

At a press conference on Thursday, Admiral Singh said that Indian Navy remained steadfast in protecting India's maritime interests.

"In these testing times, the Indian Navy aims to stand steadfast as a combat-ready, credible and cohesive force furthering our national and maritime interests," he said.

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