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Navy Commanders begin 3-day conclave, review maritime security scenario


NEW DELHI (PTI): Top commanders of the Indian Navy on Wednesday began an in-depth review of the evolving regional maritime security architecture as well as the border row with China in eastern Ladakh on the first day of a three-day conclave, officials said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended the inaugural session of the conclave.

The key focus of the conclave included reviewing the Indian Navy's operational readiness as well as issues relating to India's security interests in the Indo-Pacific, a region where China has been rapidly expanding its military presence, the officials said.

All possible security challenges that the country may face, including from China in the Indian Ocean Region, were discussed at the conclave, people familiar with the meet said.

The Indian Navy has deployed a range of its frontline warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region to send a clear message to China following escalation of the border dispute.

"The conference assumes greater significance in the backdrop of recent events on our northern borders, coupled with the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19," the Indian Navy said in a statement on Tuesday.

The naval commanders would also deliberate on ensuring tri-services synergy as well as functional reorganisation within the Navy to improve efficiency, it said, adding the conference would also discuss the larger security imperatives in the Indo-Pacific.

The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical to India's strategic interests. Over the years, the region has witnessed increasing Chinese presence.

China has constructed the deep-sea Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan and a naval base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

In the last few weeks, the Navy has significantly expanded its deployment in the Indian Ocean Region, positioning a plethora of warships and submarines following the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.

The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.

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