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Indian Navy working on mega plan to bolster operational capabilities

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Navy is working on a mega plan to significantly boost its operational capability by inducting new warships, submarines and aircraft besides expand its overall influence in the strategic maritime zones, officials said Thursday.

Under the plan, the Navy aims to have 200 ships, 500 aircraft and 24 attack submarines, they said. At present, the Navy has around 132 ships, 220 aircraft and 15 submarines.

The plan was discussed extensively by top naval commanders at a three-day conference which concluded on Thursday.

The Indian Navy will also come out with concrete plans to incorporate big data analytics and artificial intelligence for solutions in the domains of naval combat, logistics and several other key areas, the officials said.

In his address, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba talked about various key issues pertaining to operational readiness, capability enhancement, operational logistics and infrastructure, Navy Spokesperson Capt. D K Sharma said.

"Functional reorganisation of Indian Navy towards improving operational efficiency and optimal manning formed the core of discussions towards finalising the long term road map of the Navy," he said.

Officials said the commanders explored ways to significantly bolster the Navy's operational capabilities in the wake of China's growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean region.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the conference on Tuesday during which she complimented the Navy for maintaining high operational readiness.

In an indirect reference to Pakistan, Capt Sharma said she lauded the force for coercing an adversary into submission as was evident during the recent standoff. The Navy has been on maximum alert following the Pulwama strike and developments thereafter.

"She appreciated the Navy's efforts in the area of indigenisation, self-reliance and support to the 'Make in India' initiative," he said.

Sitharaman also reviewed combat readiness, pace of modernisation and progress of various acquisition and infrastructure related issues of the Navy.

"She urged the naval commanders to optimally utilise available resources to build a strong Navy that is ready and vigilant to counter any challenge that may emerge in the maritime domain," said Capt. Sharma.

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