Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Monday said the killing of American national John Allen Chau by the Sentinelese tribe in Andaman was not a failure of coastal security in the island, ANI reported. The Navy chief said Chau came as a tourist in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and had requisite permissions.
“I don’t see this as a failure of coastal security construct. He came as a tourist in Andaman and Nicobar island and had requisite permissions to be there. It’s being investigated by ANC (Andaman&Nicobar Command) police,” he said.
On being asked about the status of the trial of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is held captive in Pakistan on charges of espionage, Lanba said they were in touch with the former Navy man’s family and providing them with all assistance.
He also said that the Navy was looking to induct 56 warships and submarines to strengthen its arsenal. The process for bringing in a third aircraft carrier and installation of automated identification transponders on about 2.5 lakh fishing boats has also been moved, he said.
“I am assuring the nation that Navy is keeping round-the-clock vigil on India’s maritime domain,” PTI quoted the Navy chief as saying.
On being asked about the inclusion of women on off-shore duties, the Navy chief said all new ships were being made to accommodate lady officers on board. Giving the example of INS Vikramaditya, Kolkata class, Lanba said all future ships would have facilities to accommodate women on board.
“The issue which I highlighted was our training ships. They have to be trained to go to sea. So once we have a training ship which can accommodate and have facility for women officers, we’ll take women officers and put them at sea,” ANI quoted him as saying.
Lanba said the Navy was looking into the contract given to Reliance Naval Engineering limited for five offshore patrol vehicles and the “bank guarantee for the deal has been encashed”.
The Navy chief seemed positive about the proposal to set-up a base at Seychelles’ Assumption Island, saying the talks were on with the government of the island nation. The construction of the naval base, which was proposed in 2015, had hit a rough patch in June this year after Seychelles Parliament allegedly opposed India’s role in the deal.
The Navy chief also said the newly formed government in the Maldives will help strengthen the maritime cooperation between the two nations.
(With PTI inputs)