New Delhi: Against the backdrop of several alleged sex scandals in the force, Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday asked the Navy to take "sternest possible action" against its officers who are found involved in such "inappropriate behaviour".
"Referring to some isolated incidents of inappropriate behaviour by a few personnel, Antony urged top Commanders to take sternest possible action against those who tarnish the image and prestige of the armed forces, whenever such incident comes to their notice," the Defence Ministry said.
Antony, who was addressing a Naval Commanders` Conference here, apparently referred to charges of wife-swapping levelled against some officers in which a probe is on.
A number of officers have been sacked after they were found indulging in acts of sexual misconduct including an officer who was sending lewd messages to several women using multiple SIM cards.
Another officer has been sacked for having illicit affair with the wife of a superior officer and three more were sacked for leaking information on social networking websites.
Referring to other issues, the Defence Minister asked the top brass of the Navy to focus on construction of "additional bases and naval air stations in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands to further extend our operational reach."
Antony`s statement came against the backdrop of India`s concerns over rising influence of the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Commenting on some recent cyber attacks on Indian networks and including those of the Navy, he said, "the security environment prevailing in our neighbourhood, security of national as well as physical security of our bases, dockyards, ships, submarines and aircraft cannot be ignored at any cost."