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Indian Navy will be completely ‘atmanirbhar’ force by 2047: Chief of Naval Staff

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The Indian Navy is going through a great transformation, shedding all that has been colonial, and will be a completely ‘atmanirbhar’ force by 2047, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar here said.

Talking to the media here after interacting with Navy veterans, Hari Kumar said the Indian Navy has achieved great heights through indigenisation and could manufacture 33 submarines and 63 ships on its own.

“Our aim is to become completely atmanirbhar by 2047, and by then all the submarines, aircraft and weapons will be made in India,” the Navy Chief said. He said 75 challenges were given to the industry and received a great response from the industry. “Some of them have already got into a contract and some products have already been inducted. A lot of innovative technology and products are being developed,” Hari Kumar said.

He said the force would also become much younger in the next seven years through the Agniveer recruitment programme. He said the average age of the Naval staff will be 26. “We are trying to capitalise on the demographic dividend,” he said. He said the Agniveers joining the Navy are very tech-savvy and respond really well to the new technological challenges and adapt well to the changing demands. “They are contributing really well. They are very keen, motivated.”

Admiral Hari Kumar said the Navy is also keen on utilising the Vizhinjam port for its requirements. He said they had initial talks with the Adani group, but it was not taken forward. India’s indigenous surface-to-surface missile, Brahmos, is being inducted at a rapid pace into the Navy warships. “We plan to have it installed in all our warships and the process is progressing at a rapid pace,” Hari Kumar added. With regard to India’s third indigenous aircraft carrier, Hari Kumar said that there are many changes planned as newer technology has been emerging.

He noted that the aircraft carrier will have to have a facility to handle all types of modern aircraft. “At present, we are thinking of re-ordering an INS Vikrant type carrier. Cochin Shipyard now has certain expertise in building IACs and we have to harness it,” Hari Kumar said. He said by the time the new aircraft carrier gets ready, the present Indian Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikramaditya will be about to retire. Earlier, talking to the Navy veterans, Hari Kumar said the Indian Navy is now trying to shed everything that has been remnants of the colonial era from the force. He said changes are being made to the ranking systems and the insignia used on the uniforms. “The British gave it up some decades ago, but we have been following it diligently. Our idea is to make the force more contemporary, a force that is in line with the changing society,” Hari Kumar said. He said the Navy has now become a gender neutral force after opening up its ranks to women. “Women can join in any ranks, can be in submarines or with marine commandos,” he said.

About the administrative reforms, the Chief of Naval Staff said that the force has introduced a digital feedback system for sailors and also a 360 degree appraisal for officers where feedback from juniors is also sought about the character and conduct of their officials. For the benefit of the retired personnel, a single window system has been established to solve their grievances effectively and hassle-free.

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