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Indian Navy building 46 warships: Vice Admiral

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INS Suvarna, a Sukanya class patrol vessel. Photo: Indian Navy

VISAKHAPATNAM, AP (PTI): Expressing confidence that India can build warships indigenously, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anil Chopra has said 46 warships are currently under construction in the country.

"Indian shipyards are capable of building warships. 46 warships of the Indian Navy are in different stages of construction at several shipyards in the country. More and more ships and aircraft are being inducted into the naval service to strengthen the country's maritime capacities," he said.

He was addressing a press conference on Tuesday on board INS Sahyadri on the eve of the Navy Day celebrations.

Replying to a query, he said the nuclear war submarine INS Arihant will join the naval services soon. "The submarine has to complete the sea trials," he said.

Chopra said that India was conducting naval exercises with the neighbouring countries and maintaining good diplomatic relations with them.

When asked whether China poses a threat to India's maritime security, the Vice Admiral answered in the negative.

"China is a big country and her economic interests are different. Chinese ships are going all over the world. Our Indian ships are also visiting China. India is also conducting naval exercises with China," he said.

Chopra said the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) will celebrate the Navy Day on December 4 every year as it was on this day in 1971 that missile boats of the Indian Navy carried out an attack on Karachi Harbour during the Indo-Pak War.

Seventeen ships, eight types of aircraft and a submarine will take part in the Navy Day demonstration on Wednesday, he said.

Elaborating on the Eastern Naval Command, Chopra said, "The ENC bears the responsibility of safeguarding India's maritime interests in an area that covers a coastline of 2,600 km and an exclusive economic zone of six lakh square km."

The eastern region has gained strategic and economic importance it deserves over the last few years, he said.

"Basing of the Shivalik class stealth frigates and nuclear powered submarine INS Chakra as also the proposed basing of indigenous aircraft carrier and increase in the number of advance ships, submarines and aircraft assigned to the command are a testimony to the growing stature of the eastern seaboard," Chopra said.

According to him, the ENC has also been providing necessary help to the local civil administrations in times of natural calamities like floods and cyclones.

The eastern naval command is also creating infrastructure and acquiring land for the airfield from Tuticorin to Visakhapatnam.

To a query, he said the naval airport INS Dega in Visakhpatnam will be operational for 365 days from January next. At present the airport was functioning 24 hours for five days a week.

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