Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and top commanders of the Indian Navy will on Monday carry out a comprehensive review of India's maritime security challenges at a key conclave onboard indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on the high seas.
It is for the first time that the biannual commanders' conference is taking place onboard an aircraft carrier, a move seen as a symbolic reflection of India's priority to the maritime sphere amid China's increasing presence in the Indian Ocean region.
A senior Navy official said the conference will carry its own significance and relevance in view of the prevailing geostrategic situation in the region. Defence Minister Singh will address the naval commanders onboard the indigenous aircraft carrier on Monday as part of the first phase of the conference.
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 novelty of this year's conference lies in the fact that the first phase of the commanders' conference is being held at sea, and for the first-time, onboard India's first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant," the Navy said.
Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande and Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari will also interact with the naval commanders to address the convergence of the three services vis-à-vis common operational environment.
They are also expected to focus on avenues for augmenting tri-services synergy and readiness towards the defence of the nation and India's national interests. An operational demonstration at sea is also planned as part of the activities on the first day of the conference.
"The Chief of the Naval Staff, along with other naval commanders will review major operational, material, logistics, human resource development, training and administrative activities undertaken by the Indian Navy in the last six months and further deliberate upon future plans for important activities and initiatives," the Navy said in a statement.
During the conference, Naval Commanders would also be provided with an update on the implementation of the Agnipath scheme. The first batch of 'naval Agniveers', including the first batch of women recruits under the scheme, is scheduled to pass out from INS Chilka at the end of March.
The Navy said the commanders' conference would be a significant one and that it will delve into the challenges facing India in the maritime domain. "The Navy has witnessed significant growth in its operational tasking over the years in consonance with India's growing maritime interests," it said.
"The commanders would also deliberate on the Navy's readiness to address the challenges to our maritime interests," it said. "The Indian Navy remains focused on being a combat-ready, credible, cohesive and future-proof force and continues to assiduously execute its mandate as the maritime security guarantor of the country," the Navy said.