New Delhi, Feb 15: The navy today advocated
immediate setting up of a National Maritime Commission to
chalk out country's long-time maritime policy as Defence
Minister Pranab Mukherjee said government would focus on these
The plea for constituting such a Commission was put
forward by Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash who said the issue
was hanging fire for about two years.
He said the country over the years was afflicted by "sea
blindness" which had led to issues relating to
maritime security being pushed to the margin.
The naval chief said the country could only afford to
ignore the sea at its own peril as India's exports, which had
crossed 75 billion us dollars and which would double in next
five years, were dependent on the sea.
He said the commission would essentially be an autonomous
body and non-governmental in nature.
Without touching on these aspects, the Defence Minister,
in his inaugural address after declaring open the country's
first national maritime foundation, stressed that India
being the coastal country should have such institutions and
think tanks to provide strategic inputs to the government.
Mukherjee said the foundation would receive financial
support from the government during initial stages.