India needs to be more aggressive in defending territory: Parrikar

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) India needs to be more aggressive in defending its territory, but the aggression shall not be for its own sake, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday.

The minister also congratulated the navy for decrease in piracy in the High Risk Area of the Indian Ocean.

“Piracy level has gone down…. It will bring down the costs for the shipping industry,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Naval Commanders’ Conference here.

Parrikar said a new maritime strategy document has been prepared by the Indian Navy as the challenges have grown since the last time the document came out.

“In the last eight-ten years, there has been a lot of change in the perspective and challenges…. We have to be more aggressive in defending (our territory)…,” he said.

The minister released the follow-on edition of the Indian Navy’s strategic guidance document ‘Freedom to Use the Seas; India’s Maritime Military Strategy’ published in 2007. It would come into effect from December 1.

The revised edition is titled ‘Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy’, which highlight the incontrovertible link between the seas and India’s resurgence in the 21st century.

Speaking at the conference earlier, Parrikar emphasised the need for continuous vigil and readiness to respond to any contingencies in India’s area of interest.

He said it required highest combat readiness of platforms and diligent monitoring of developments in the maritime domain, an official statement said.

“Taking note of the extensive deployments at extended ranges from our coasts, spanning the South China Sea and Sea of Japan in the east to the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the minister expressed satisfaction at the very high operational tempo maintained by the Indian Navy,” the statement said.

The minister stressed that ‘Make in India’ was an important aspect of modernisation planned for the navy.

Parrikar said indigenous components in the fighter capabilities need to be increased, especially in submarine construction.

He also highlighted the issues of capability shortfalls in ship-borne helicopters, mine countermeasures vessels and submarines and assured of full government support in addressing them.

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