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Indian Navy aims to become 'Atmanirbhar' by 2047, says Admiral Hari Kumar

Commissioning of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant was a landmark event for India, the Indian Navy Chief said.

Indian Navy aims to become 'Atmanirbhar' by 2047, says Admiral Hari Kumar

New Delhi: The Indian Navy has given assurances to the government that it will become 'Aatmanirbhar' (self-reliant) by 2047, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar said on Saturday. Addressing a press conference ahead of Navy Day, he also said the Navy keeps a strong vigil over the movements of various Chinese military and research vessels in the Indian Ocean Region. He said the Indian Navy achieved a very high operational tempo in the last one year and there has been greater emphasis on the criticality of maritime security as India marches ahead.

"The government has given us clear guidelines on Atmanirbhar Bharat. We have given assurances that the Indian Navy will become Aatmanirbhar by 2047," the Navy Chief said.

Admiral Hari Kumar also said that operationally, the Navy had a very intense and engaging time in the last one year. Commissioning of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant was a landmark event for India, he said.

The Navy Chief said his force aims to have Made-in-India security solutions for the country.

Around 3,000 Agniveers have arrived in the Navy out of which 341 are women. For the first time, we are inducting women sailors, Admiral Kumar said.

Proposed procurement of Predator drones from US under process

Kumar also said that the case for the proposed procurement of a fleet of Predator drones from the US is under process.

The original proposal was to procure 30 MQ-9B Predator armed drones at a cost of over USD 3 billion to crank up India's surveillance apparatus along the frontier with China as well as in the Indian Ocean region.

"The case for the procurement is under process. We are discussing whether the numbers have to be rationalised," the Navy Chief said while replying to a question at his annual press conference.

The MQ-9B drone is a variant of the MQ-9 "Reaper" which was used to launch a modified version of the Hellfire missile that eliminated al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the heart of Kabul last month.

In 2020, the Indian Navy had taken on lease two MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones from General Atomics for a period of one year for surveillance in the Indian Ocean. The lease period has been extended subsequently.

"We have gained good experiences while operating the leased drones," Admiral Kumar said.

The Indian Navy has been bolstering its surveillance mechanism to monitor growing Chinese activities, including frequent forays by PLA warships in the Indian Ocean Region.

The procurement proposal for the armed drones has been moved by the Indian Navy and all three services are likely to get 10 drones each.

The drone is the first hunter-killer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for long-endurance and high-altitude surveillance. The MQ-9B has signals intelligence and communications intelligence systems integrated onboard, but it can take any number of other custom sensors as necessary.

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