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'Navy monitoring all happenings in Indian Ocean'

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KOLKATA (PTI): The Indian Navy is monitoring all the happenings in the Indian Ocean and is prepared to safeguard the country's security and maritime interests, its Eastern Fleet commander Rear Admiral D K Tripathi said Wednesday.

The Eastern Fleet commander is in the city with two of his ships -- the INS Sumedha, a multi-purpose offshore patrol vessel, and the INS Kirch, a missile corvette -- as part of the Navy Week celebrations.

He said India was primarily a maritime nation and over 90 per cent of its trade (in terms of volume) was conducted through the sea route.

"The Navy is committed to safeguarding the maritime interest of the nation wherever and whenever required," Tripathi told reporters here.

"We are monitoring all that is happening in the Indian Ocean," he said, when asked about the presence of the naval forces of other nations, including the Chinese naval ships, there.

Tripathi said India had a 7,500-km-long coastline and 1,180 islands and the Navy was the prime agency responsible for the country's overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security.

He said the Eastern Fleet had grown in strength and capability over the years and now operated some of the most modern warships, including the Shivalik-class stealth frigates and Kamorta-class anti-submarine corvettes, adding that it would also receive some of the seven P-17A stealth frigates being constructed at two shipyards in the country.

"Since last year, the Navy has transitioned to mission-based deployments aimed at maximising our time at sea with defined outcomes in our areas of interest," Tripathi said.

He added that in keeping with this operational philosophy, the ships of the Eastern Fleet were deployed far and for long to demonstrate its presence.

Such deployments were "also to assure our friends that the Indian Navy is available to assist in the event of any contingency", Tripathi said.

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