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Defence Minister to address naval commanders on Tuesday, witness twin-aircraft carrier operation

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and top commanders of the Indian Navy will carry out a comprehensive review of India's maritime security challenges at a key conclave onboard one of the two aircraft carriers of the Navy in the Arabian Sea on Tuesday.

On the first day of the biannual naval commanders' conference, Singh will also witness combat prowess of aircraft carriers INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya in a "twin carrier operation" that is aimed at projecting India's growing naval prowess, officials said.

The naval commanders are likely to deliberate on a host of crucial issues including China's growing military forays into the Indian Ocean as well as the situation arising out of the Houthi militants targeting various cargo vessels in the Red Sea and adjoining areas.

In the course of the three-day conference, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan along with Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande and Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari will engage with the naval commanders on a wide range of issues including ways to boost tri-services convergence.

"They will explore avenues to enhance tri-service synergy and readiness in defence of the nation and India's national interests," Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

"By fostering strategic clarity, operational excellence, technological innovation, and international cooperation, the conference reaffirms the Navy's commitment to safeguarding India's maritime interests and upholding its status as a responsible maritime power in the region," he said.

The conference serves as a platform for naval commanders to discuss important security issues at the military-strategic level as well as interact with senior government functionaries under an institutionalised framework.

"The inaugural session of the conference will have the defence minister embarking at sea to witness both aircraft carriers demonstrating the Indian Navy's ability to conduct 'twin carrier operations'," Madhwal said.

In March last year too, the first part of the naval commanders' conference had taken place on board indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

"The last six months have witnessed significant changes in the geo-political landscape in the Indian Ocean Region due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict," the Navy spokesperson said.

He said the strategic alignment of the nations has resulted in a spillover of the kinetic actions on land into the maritime domain.

"Along with the drone and missile attacks on mercantile shipping, a resurgence of piracy has also been witnessed. The Indian Navy has responded to the emerging threats with strength and resolve demonstrating its capability as a first responder and its commitment as a 'preferred security partner'," he added.

"The Indian Navy's cornerstone event -- commanders conference -- serves as a crucible for charting the course of the Navy's future amidst a rapidly evolving maritime environment," the spokesperson said in a statement.

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