Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) in Visakhapatnam on June 14 (Friday) to review the operational readiness of the Indian Navy and embarked on INS Jalashwa for a ‘Day at Sea’.

It was Rajnath’s first outstation visit after assuming charge as Defence Minister for the second consecutive term.

During the ‘Day at Sea’, he witnessed the dynamic operations of various ships, submarine and aircraft of the ENC. He was accompanied by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Dinesh K. Tripathi and Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar.

Interacting with the officers and sailors of the Eastern Fleet, Rajnath Singh commended the Indian Navy for being operationally ready, and emerging as the first responder in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

“Our Navy ensures that no nation suppresses another in the Indo-Pacific region, or endangers its strategic autonomy on the basis of economic strength or military power. This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), wherein our friendly countries in the region remain safe and move forward together on the path of mutual progress,” he said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh receiving the ceremonial 50-men Guard of Honour on his arrival at INS Dega, in Visakhapatnam on Friday.

He credited the Indian Navy for playing a crucial role in the country’s growth and raising its stature on the international stage. He made special mention of the Navy’s daring rescue operation in the Arabian Sea in March 2024, when it freed 23 Pakistani nationals from Somali pirates. This operation, he said, was a demonstration of humanity as well as the values imbibed in the Naval personnel, who come to the aid of everyone, irrespective of their nationality.

“It is a matter of great pride that our Navy is ensuring safe trade and promoting peace and prosperity in the IOR. Securing free navigation, rule-based world order, anti-piracy and peace and stability in the region are our biggest objectives. The Navy is playing a crucial role in fulfilling them. India, with its increasing power, is committed to making the region as well as the entire world peaceful and prosperous,” said Rajnath Singh.

He highlighted the Navy’s growing strength, which is ensuring the security of India’s maritime borders. He also underlined the fact that India’s commercial interests were linked with the IOR, and the Navy was a means of securing the maritime borders while achieving the wider national objectives. He said national interest “is of paramount importance to the government, assuring that all possible steps will be taken to safeguard them.”

Speaking about the government’s vision, he said, “I visited the Siachen Glacier at the beginning of my first term as Raksha Mantri in June 2019. I again visited the world’s highest battlefield in April 2024. Our aim is to bolster national security with focus on the northern borders. Whether it is infrastructure development, or connecting the far-flung areas with the rest of the country, or ensuring peace and stability at the borders, we have achieved all these objectives. It, however, does not mean we did not pay heed to the IOR in our previous tenure. We paid full attention to our Navy and maritime security,” he said.

Singh emphasised that in his second term the focus would be on further strengthening maritime security and making the presence of India’s naval power in IOR more effective and robust.

“The Indian Navy is continuously becoming stronger, factored by growing industrial infrastructure. Our shipyards are expanding, aircraft carriers increasing, and our Navy is emerging as a new powerful force. We will give momentum to our efforts in the second tenure as well. Be it the Himalayas or the Indian Ocean, our priority will be to continuously strengthen the security at the borders,” he said.

The ‘Day at Sea’ culminated with the traditional ‘Barakhana’ with the crew of the Sunrise Fleet. Earlier, upon his arrival at INS Dega, Visakhapatnam, Singh was accorded a ceremonial welcome with a 50-men Guard of Honour.

(With Inputs From Agencies)