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'We are the resident power in Indian Ocean...' Naval Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar ahead of Navy Day

Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar stated that the Indian Navy is aware of the presence of Chinese warships, research vessels, and fishing boats in the Indian Ocean Region and acknowledged that China may have legitimate reasons for its presence. He emphasized that India is the resident naval power in the region

We are the resident power in Indian Ocean Naval Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar ahead of Navy Day
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First Published Dec 1, 2023, 4:27 PM IST

Amidst the presence of Chinese warships, research vessels and fishing boats in the Indian Ocean Region at any point in time, Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on Friday said that the force is aware of whatever things are happening in the region and China may have a legitimate reason to be present there. He, however, said: “We are the resident power."

Speaking at the annual press conference of the force ahead of Indian Navy Day to be celebrated on December 4, Admiral Hari Kumar said: “The oceans are considered a common heritage. Oceans can be used for the legitimate economic aspirations of any nation. China may have a legitimate reason to be present in the Indian Ocean region for economic activities. But what we as the resident naval power in the Indian Ocean, keep an eye on what all is happening there."

"We try to keep the extra-regional forces which are present in the region under surveillance and we would like to know what are their activities, what are they engaged in and what are intentions and so on. So that is why we deploy our assets, the surveillance assets and our ships, submarines, aircraft, and UAVs. They are deployed regularly to keep our area of interest under observation. We are aware of all the happenings that are taking place," the Indian Navy chief said.

In reply to a query on China’s alliance with Pakistan Navy, he said: "We know what they are up to."

India-Maldives Relations

"With Maldives, we have very close cooperation, we have some assets deployed there, we have been assisting them in many ways, including medical evacuation…  With regards to whether we need to scale down our personnel etc, that's a decision of the governments. Whatever be the instruction of the government we will follow that,” Admiral Hari Kumar said.

Without mentioning the Taiwan issue, he expressed concerns over the ongoing disputes in the region and said it has the potential to escalate. 

Women Agniveers 

Admiral Hari Kumar said that 'our first batch of Agniveers graduated from the premier training establishment INS Chilka in March this year. Importantly, this batch of Agniveers included 272 women trainees and going further, the present batch of Agniveers has a total of 454 women.”

“With the third batch of Agniveers joining at INS Chilka, the overall strength of Women Agniveers has now crossed the 1000 mark...”

On suicide by a woman Agniveer in Mumbai, he termed it an “unfortunate incident”. A board of inquiry has been constituted. We have appointed psychologists and they will be available 24/7 for them. 

On littoral navies, he said: "We engage with friendly foreign countries in the region to develop trust. We are the preferred security partner with them."

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