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Take steps to check mishaps, House panel tells Navy

Defence Minister AK Antony has expressed serious concern on the issue.

New Delhi | February 19, 2014 1:03:59 am

Coming out strong on the navy for the crippling loss of INS Sindhurakshak that went down after unexplained explosions on August 14, 2013, a top Parliament panel has told the Navy to take corrective steps, contending that such accidents adversely affect the morale of personnel.

Taking a stern look at the accident that led to the loss of 18 lives, the panel noted that even six months after the submarine sank at the Mumbai harbour, it has not been found and the cause for the accident has not been established.

“It is baffling for the committee to find that this vessel had recently returned from Russia after servicing. How could a vessel meet a disaster of this kind almost immediately after its maintenance?” the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence that was tabled on Tuesday stated.

The panel has said that it is of ‘utmost importance’ to establish the cause of the accident as ‘such incidents are catastrophic and adversely affect the morale of naval personnel working on different vessels’.

As reported by this newspaper, the Navy has suffered a series of mishaps since the Sindhurakshak accident, which have thrown up questions on the safety record of the force.

Even though Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi has stated that the safety record of the navy is not too bad, Defence Minister AK Antony has expressed serious concern and had recently said that he would not give a ‘100 per cent satisfaction certificate’ to the Navy.

Echoing the views of the defence ministry, that has asked for detailed explanations on the at least eight accidents that have occurred in the past few weeks, the panel said that requisite precautionary measures should be put in place to ensure safety of personnel and equipment placed on various submarines at different locations.

Not satisfied with the Navy’s explanation, the panel has directed that the Navy ‘take all necessary steps to obviate accidents in order to safeguard the trained manpower and sophisticated machines’.

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