Admiral R Hari Kumar highlighted the significant addition of more than 1,000 women Agniveers into the Indian Navy, signifying a notable step towards gender diversity and inclusivity within the naval forces

The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar, on December 1, during his speech at a press conference ahead of Navy Day, said that more than 1,000 women Agniveers have been incorporated into the Indian Navy.

Admiral R Hari Kumar, while lauding the Agnipath scheme, said that the implementation of Agnipath has been a much-needed, transformational change.

“Our first batch of Agniveers graduated from the premier-winning establishment, INS Chilka, in March this year. And importantly, this batch of Agniveers includes 272 female Agniveer trainees as well,” said Admiral R Hari Kumar.

“And going further, the second batch of Agniveers had a total of 454 women and I want to say that with the third batch, which has just been inducted, we have now crossed over 1000 women affiliates in the navy,” he added.

Admiral R Hari Kumar asserted that these statistics stand as a testament to the Indan Navy’s philosophy of all roles and all ranks with regard to the deployment of women in the service, both for officers and for personnel below the rank of officer.

“We also appointed the first woman commanding officer of an Indian naval ship. It has been our effort to constantly challenge the status quo to ensure that the Navy remains on an aspirational and dynamic trajectory into the future,” said Admiral R Hari Kumar.

“Take a look at the year gone by, and you’d agree that 2023 has been a remarkable year for our nation. Leaving a mark across various sectors and spheres, be it the economic front, diplomacy, or sports arena,” said Admiral R Hari Kumar.

“Similarly, for the Navy too, the last year has been remarkable. And in this period, our ships, submarines and aircraft have sustained a high operation tempo, undertaking missions and tasks encompassing military, diplomatic and constabulary roles,” he added.

He further mentioned that Indian units are mission-deployed across the Indian Ocean region and beyond to protect and promote the national interest, so these extensive deployments, coupled with the equally large number of exercises at sea, have really helped the Indian Navy and as a result, the Indian Navy has remained a combat-ready, credible, cohesive, and future-proof force, enabled by what we call our ship’s first outlook, where every single action that we take is aimed to enable our women and men in the operational units to perform that duty very well.

Admiral R Hari Kumar further said, “Our ships have been persistently present across the Indo-Pacific region. Submarines have undertaken operational turnarounds at foreign ports in Oman, Australia, and Indonesia.”

“In the data-level operational readiness exercise in the months of January and February this year, more than 151 operational units took part in the exercise, which spanned an area of more than 21 million square nautical miles,” he added.

He also highlighted the twin carrier operations that involved both of the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers, Vikrant and Vikramaditya.

The Chief of Naval Staff, during his speech, further said that among the Indian Navy’s number of operational achievements, nothing could be more reassuring than the maiden take-off of TEJAS-Navy and the MiG29K onboard Vikrant in February this year, reaffirming that the Indian Navy is on the right track in fostering ‘Atmanirbharta’ in the defence sector.

He further highlighted that the economic survey report for 2022-23 tabled in parliament on January 31 did, in fact, acknowledge the Navy’s role in providing substantial impetus to the Indian shipbuilding industry.

“So, as a subset of indigenisation, we have retained our focus on fostering R&D in each technology,” he said.

Admiral R Hari Kumar also mentioned that the second edition of the Swavlamban seminar was conducted this year.

He further said that last year, answers were sought for 25 challenges, while this year, more than 1000 responses were received.

“We declared about 118 winners under the disc 7 sprint and the sprint prime and concluded over a hundred technological development agreements between IDEX and industry,” Admiral R Hari Kumar said, adding that these include a number of global first-game changers and first multipliers.

The Chief of Naval Staff further said that in driving self-reliance and technology development, the Indian Navy is well established on a path of budget optimisation, with the capital budget crossing the Rs 50,000 core mark, a 26 per cent hike in the revenue budget.

“All this points to increasing trust in our efficient budget and utilising capacity to generate capability,” he said. He also announced that the Indian Navy will be conducting the forthcoming Navy Day on December 4 in Maharashtra.