Indian Navy to work under unmandated groupings against piracy: Antony

New Delhi, May 25: Describing piracy as a continuing cause of major concern, Defence Minister AK Antony today said that the menace needs a concerted effort and a collective response from the international community.

Addressing the Naval Commanders here this morning, Antony said "recent incidents in our neighbourhood" have strongly underlined the need to maintain constant vigil.

"The Challenges of the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) and the volatile neighbourhood we live in, make it imperative for us to maintain operational readiness at all times. The Navy needs to take stock of the level of operational preparedness from time to time," Antony said.

While assuring that the Indian Navy would continue to work with all navies operating in the Gulf of Aden, he ruled out India becoming a member of any multilateral groupings unless these are under a UN mandate.

Commenting on coastal security, Antony said the government has made considerable progress in plugging the gaps but a lot more still needs to be done.

He said various agencies need to adopt a far more collaborative and cooperative approach.

Antony further said that strengthening our coastal security is inextricably linked to the security of island territories, and called for drawing up a long term strategic plan to enhance the security of Andaman andNicobar, Lakshadweep andMinicoy islands.

Referring to the modernization of the Navy, Antony said the government is fully committed to achieve this goal.

He said 34 ships and submarines are in various stages of construction at different indigenous shipyards. He also said that a large number of contracts have been concluded for acquisition of aircraft, destroyers, fleet tanker, jet trainers, missiles, UAVs, radars etc.

Copyright Asian News International/