Visakhapatnam, Apr 4 (ANI): Stating that the disruption of sea-borne trade due to piracy, terrorism, or conflict can have serious repercussions on the economies and overall well-being of nations in the Indian Ocean Region, Defence Minister A K Antony today said the INS Chakra would play a major role in reshaping maritime operations of the Indian Navy in the years to come and ensure security, sovereignty and economic prosperity of the country.
Antony, who formally commissioned the Akula II class Nerpa, rechristened 'INS Chakra', into the Navy at the Ship Building Complex in Visakhapatnam, in his address on the occasion said the Indian Ocean Region, which is home to large population and some of the most dynamic and fast growing economies, has assumed great strategic significance over the years.
" Geo-strategically, India is the hub of this region. The disruption of sea-borne trade due to piracy, terrorism, or conflict can have serious repercussions on the economies and overall well-being of nations in the Indian Ocean Region. As peace and stability in the region are crucial to peace in the world at large, it is imperative that the Indian Navy maintains a strong, stabilising and credible naval presence in the region," said Antony.
"At the same time, I wish to strongly emphasise that our naval presence is not at all directed against any nation, but only to act as a stabilising force and protect our strategic interests. Towards this end, the induction of INS Chakra is a step in the right direction," he added.
Expressing his pleasure to be at the arrival ceremony of INS Chakra, Antony said: " The historic event reflects the high level of cooperation and strategic partnership between India and Russia."
"It was more than five decades ago, in 1954, that the first nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus revolutionised submarine warfare. Nuclear propulsion has given the submarine the ability to operate submerged at high speeds for unlimited periods, limited only by human endurance," he added.
The Defence Minister said nuclear-powered submarines have assumed far greater significance and changed the complexion of maritime warfare over the years. Indian Navy entered the era of nuclear propulsion in 1998 with the induction of the erstwhile Chakra, a Charlie class SSGN - wherein SS denotes "Submarine", G denotes "Guided Missile" and N denotes "Nuclear"," said Antony.
"The three-year lease of the erstwhile Chakra was a landmark event in international cooperation. The successful operation of this SSGN cleared the decks for the induction of present INS Chakra in its new 'avataar' into the Indian Navy," he added.
Stating that the defence forces in general and the Navy in particular, have had a long association with Russia, Antony said: " The lease of INS Chakra is a true reflection of the remarkably strong and close ties between our countries. I am confident that INS Chakra will symbolise both, the success of the Russian submarine building capability and the Indian Navy's competence in exploitation of technologically complex platforms."
Antony also congratulated the Russian Navy, Russian crew, personnel of Amur shipyard and Vostok shipyard on this occasion.
"I also thank JSC Rosobornexport for making this lease possible. Their support and cooperation has made it possible to successfully commission INS Chaka into the Indian Navy. I am sure that following in the true spirit of the longstanding, strategic friendship between our two great nations, the Russian Federation would extend the requisite technical support to INS Chakra during her operations in India," said Antony.
"On behalf of the Republic of India, I congratulate the Indian Navy for successfully inducting INS Chakra. I also extend my heartiest congratulations to the Commanding Officer of INS Chakra and the crew for their painstaking efforts during the challenging phases of training, acceptance and passage to India. I wish the Commanding Officer, officers and men of the submarine fair weather following seas, good fortune and happy hunting," he added.
Antony further said: "The nation is really proud of this latest addition to the Indian Navy. All of us look forward to operate this powerful platform. I am confident that whenever called upon, INS Chakra, would bring credit and glory to our country and the Indian Navy." (ANI)
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