New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday flagged the need for safety norms for naval vessels, and told commanders that "Standard Operating Procedures" for them must be followed strictly.
"It must be ensured that safety mechanisms are accorded top priority and Standard Operating Procedures are adhered to strictly and without exception," Antony said at the Naval Commanders` Conference here.
Describing the loss of 18 crew members on board INS Sindhurakshak on August 14 this year as an unprecedented tragedy, Antony said: "We need to seriously reflect on the incident, analyse it and draw lessons for the future."
Attempts to salvage the submarine, which sank after explosions at the naval harbour in Mumbai, and an inquiry to ascertain the possible cause of the accident are under way.
The Defence Minister complimented the Navy for the commissioning of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which has been bought from Russia, saying that coupled with the MiG 29K aircraft, the carrier has the potential to become a force multiplier in enhancing combat capability.
He further said the nuclear-powered reactor on board INS Arihant becoming critical was a major boost to India`s strategic deterrence capability.
"Once we reach the next milestone, the commencement of sea trials of the submarine, it would make India only the sixth nation in the world to build and operate nuclear-powered submarines," he said.
This, said the minister, would mark another stride forward in realising the long-cherished objective of achieving nuclear triad capability, the Defence Minister said.