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Defence Minister inaugurates BEL Product Support Centre at Kochi


A file photo.

KOCHI (PTI): In the backdrop of the recent incidents relating to the arrest of Somali pirates from near the Indian waters, the Indian Navy and Coastguard would step up their surveillance along the Kerala-Lakshadweep-Tamil Nadu coast, Union Defence minister, A K Antony, Tuesday said.

More Naval and Coastguard vessels and aircrafts would be deployed to increase surveillance, Antony said after inaugurating the Bharat Electrical Ltd (BEL)'s Product Support Centre at KINFRA Hi Tech Park at nearby Kalamassery.

The centre has been set up to provide waterfront support for the Southern Naval command and its to support outsourcing of Naval System projects to units of KELTRON.

In the last one month, two vessels of the pirates had been seized in joint operations by the navy and coastguard and last year 14 ships were attacked by pirates near the 8 degree channel in Lakshadweep.

'Our waters are not safe like before. There are some other forces helping them. We cannot remain mere spectators', he said but said they (forces) have yet to be identified.

These incidents point that the country's coasts are not protected and if we are not vigilant, danger would not be far behind.

Antony said the project, the foundation stone of which was laid in 2008 by him, could be completed in a record time, thanks to the support of the state government. The centre, state, local bodies had all come together to see the project becomes a reality, he said.

Secretary Defence Production, R K Singh, said though the employment opportunities would be limited now at the unit, but once it become profitable and productive, it will be expanded and more job opportunities would be created.

Union minister, K V Thomas, State Industries minister, Elamaram Kareem and Transport minister, Jose Thettayil were among those who spoke.

The unit is also envisaged to co-ordinate equipment supply and support to the Air Defence Ship Project at Cochin Shipyard Limited and to support Sonar Development Projects at the National Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi, which is a DRDO lab, BEL Chairman and Managing Director, Aswani Kumar Datt, said.

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BEL  Navy  India  

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