India for "unhindered" freedom of navigation in international waters; Navy Chief assures Indian Navy is in good fighting shape
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  • (JUNE 4-10)

    According to reports, against the backdrop of disputes in the South China Sea involving China, Defence Minister AK Antony said on June 9, 2012 that India believes in "unhindered" freedom of navigation in international waters. The Defence Minister said that maritime disputes between nations should be settled through negotiations and discussion and without any third-party intervention. "India strongly believes in international waters and there should be unhindered freedom of navigation for all the countries," he said. Underlining the importance of international laws on maritime issues, the minister said: "The freedom (for navigation in international waters) must be as per the expected procedure and international laws." Last week, Antony had addressed the Asia Security Conference at Singapore and had voiced India's position for freedom of navigation in international waters. During the conference, the US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had announced that Washington has decided to move majority of its warships into the Asia-Pacific region in the coming years. 1

    Meanwhile, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma told media following the passing out parade at Indian Military Academy in Dehradun on June 9, 2012 that the Indian Navy is in good fighting shape and, in a few years, will be in a position to commission five ships each year to further boost the nation’s naval strength and security. The Chief stated, “I can say that the Indian Navy is fighting fit with measures already taken and still being taken to further improve infrastructure and fleet strength. At present, 48 ships are in the process of being built and most of these are being built indigenously. We have already inducted 19 MIG 29K and more will be inducted in the future which will expand the reach and boost the strength of the Navy. We are also going to increase the strength of P-81 aerial surveillance aircrafts which will provide a fillip to the nation’s capabilities.” 2