On the occasion of 74th Republic Day, Vice chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral SN Ghormade speaks to The New Indian about his vision for Navy, infusion of “Nari Shakti” in its ranks, the utility of having Agniveers, becoming AatmaNirbhar(self-reliant), and the crucial role India plays in providing stability and peace in the Indian Ocean Region.
On 74th Republic Day of India @TheNewIndian_in
brings you an exclusive interaction with Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral SN Ghormade. He shares Indian Navy's vision for Amrit Kaal with our Assistant Editor @urvashikhona
VJ: @Tonmoy7sisters@indiannavy@DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/gu9rQo9IAd
— The New Indian (@TheNewIndian_in) January 26, 2023
Urvashi Khona: Since the past few years, we have seen the participation of women in the Indian Navy in large numbers.
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Nari Shakti is an important part of our country and it is, therefore, appropriate that a lady officer is leading the naval contingent in this year Republic Day Parade. It has happened before,but immense thrust has been given this year. I have recently visited INS Chilka, the training centre for Agniveers, where almost 50% of the training for women Agniveersis over. We find that the women Agniveers are doing very well. It is indeed a great achievement for us to induct women Agniveers in the Indian Navy. We are confident that they will be able to participate in all activities and will be able to serve in all the challenging appointments in the Navy.
Urvashi Khona: What is Navy trying to achieve with Agniveers?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: The best thing about Agniveers is that we’re going to bring youth and technology into the Service. The present youth is technologically savvy. They’re very confident about themselves. They know what they want to do, and their commitment and enthusiasm will ensure that they are quick learners and they’re able to perform the job well. We will be able to utilize them in a technologically advanced Indian Navy.
Urvashi Khona: Do you think that induction of Agniveers would play an important role in future for Indian Navy?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Yes very much, we need young men and women in the Indian Navy, who can take charge of technologically advanced Indian Navy and that’s what we are aiming to do. You can see for 3000 Agniveers, we had 11 Lakh applicants. This shows the aspirations of young India. All those who have joined the training, we have found them much more committed. They have come prepared and they want to do well for the Nation and the Navy.
Urvashi Khona: How has Navy upgraded itself technologically? What are the new innovations and changes that Navy has adopted?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Indian Navy has been at the forefront of indigenization and self-reliance. In the last 75 years, We have progressed very well because of the vision of our forefathers and the leadership. The Indian Navy has a ‘Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, which was prepared many years before. This is a 15-year plan, which is prepared based on the role and missions which the nation would assign to us, which in turn builds the capability for Navy.
The vision of the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan is to build a navy with Top-down, Capability dominant, Mission-based approach. This builds the force structure in a manner that we have the capability to meet any threat or any requirement across the spectrum of warfare, which may range from low-intensity conflict to a nuclear war.
Progressively we are building a capability, keeping affordability in mind, since we know that we have scarce resources. We utilize each and every rupee to the extent that we stretch out the rupee to its maximum so that we get maximum bang for the buck.
Urvashi Khona: What is the significance of the new navy flag?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: We’re proud of our heritage and our maritime history. The Indian Navy has been always progressing towards not only indigenization but Indianising everything. So, whilst we have built Indian ships, this was a great opportunity that we changed the flag. It was suggested by one of our sailors, that, we use the Raj Mudra of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Octagon in the flag depicts the maritime security of the nation from all directions. We have Indianised our flag and we are proud of our heritage.
Urvashi Khona: If you have to talk about the Indian Navy, where do we stand with respect to Atmanirbhar Bharat?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Indian Navy has been in the forefront of Self reliance and indigenisation. Atma-Nirbharta has been our Mantra. Since the clarion call given by the Prime Minister in 2014, it has given a boost to our indigenisation drive. We have had over 130 Naval ships constructed in India.We have recently commissioned the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier by the Honourable Prime Minister.
We have come into the league of six nations which can indigenously design and build aircraft carriers. It has 76% indigenous Content. This itself speaks about the indigenisation.The entire steel of the carrier has been made in India. That was done through Research and Development by SAIL, Indian Navy and DRDO. Similarly, a lot of equipment, cabling and number of systems on the ship are indigenised.
Similarly, we have commissioned INS Vishakhapatnam in 2021. In 2022, we commissioned INS Mormugao, and they are the latest and advanced state-of-the-art destroyers which are made with 75% Indigenous Content. As we move towards Amrit Kaal in 2047 to become a Viksit Bharat, our aim is to build a fully indigenous Atma-Nirbhar Navy.
Urvashi Khona: What is it that the Indian Navy has come out with in recent times to ensure Maritime security?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: The Navy has set up a Naval Indigenization and Innovation Organization (NIIO) in August 20. We have been interacting with the private industry and the DRDO closely so that we have much more innovative and indigenous capabilities. The last year, on July 18th, Hon’ble Prime Minister has launched 75 challenges of innovation, in which we have promised that in one year, by 15th August 23, we would deliver 75 technologies. These would be indigenously developed and contribute to Aatmanirbharta. Towards this, we had 1100 proposals that came from private industries and MSMEs. We have selected 150 proposals. And out of that, in the last few months, we have been able to sign over 53 contracts. That’s the speed which we are working to achieve our goal of indigenisation and innovation. Some of these technologies would be game changers such as Blue Green Laser, drone technologies and also some advanced technologies in communication, weapons, sensors, armament and surveillance capability. This will make sure our Navy is more combat ready and credible.
Urvashi Khona: We have just seen the commissioning of INS Vagir. How does that add to the whole security deployment and how does that make the Indian Navy more rich?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Submarine is a very potent unit and an important part of the Indian Navy and inducting INS Vagir adds to that capability. Submarine provides a potent capability to Nation as it monitors and provide Sea -Denial capability by preventing entry of any adversary in our Sea area. This is an important capability, which we have added today. This submarine has been built by Mazagon Dock Limited. We want to be a Navy which is combat ready, credible, cohesive and future proof.
We also want to build a navy which is a balanced navy, which consists of submarines, aircraft carriers, surface ships and aircraft. This gives us a complete capability to fight and protect the nation and provide the maritime security in all domains Air, Surface and Under Water.
Urvashi Khona: How strong are we with respect to the maritime security?
Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: The Indian Navy is seen as a regional force that provides stability and peace in the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Navy is the Preferred Security Partner by the neighbouring states. With our policy of Neighbourhood First, we have been cooperating and providing assistance to our neighbouring countries which need support in the maritime domain. This was seen very closely during the COVID when we provided succour and support to all the neighbouring nations.
When it comes to the Indian Ocean Region, India is geographically advantageous in the maritime domain because the peninsular India juts into the Indian Ocean and this is one ocean which is named after India. Thus, our geographical advantage provides the Navy the strategic advantage over any other force in this area, but we need to be strong and capable to defend the entire Indian Ocean region, which is vast in area.