All recent accidents thoroughly analysed, says Indian Navy chief

Mumbai, May 19 (IANS) All recent accidents involving naval assets have been "thoroughly analysed" at every level and all standard operating procedures are being followed, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R.K. Dhowan said Monday.

"We have put a safety audit organisation in place. We have reiterated to the organisation to ensure that all standard operating procedures are followed as the Indian Navy is a highly professional service," Dhowan told media persons here during his maiden visit to the Western Naval Command.

Referring to the status of probes into the recent incidents, Dhowan said the navy has ensured that all safety standards are in place even before the board of inquiry is completed.

"It shall be our endeavour to see that whatever lessons are learnt from the board of inquiry, we implement those measures throughout the navy so that the operational efficiency of submarines, ships and aircraft are maintained," he said.

In recent times, the navy has suffered a series of accidents involving submarines.

Last year, 18 sailors were killed in a blast and fire aboard submarine INS Sindhurakshak, while in February, two naval officers lost their lives in a fire onboard the INS Sindhuratna.

It led to the resignation of then CNS Admiral D.K. Joshi.

Dhowan said the Western Naval Command was the most important command of the Indian Navy and its officers and men were not only capable of taking care of all the assets but also face all requirements and challenges.

Discussing the future procurement plans of the navy, Dhowan termed it a long-term process depending on the requirements and which happens with laid down procedures.

He said the recently acquired aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has been inducted and is fully operation under the Western Naval Command.

Similarly, Shivalik class ships have been inducted into the eastern fleet and the ships of Project 28 would also be included in the Eastern Naval Command, he added.

"We also have Rukmani, our own communication satellite, which would give a tremendous boost and be a force multiplier for the network centric operations of Indian Navy," he said.

Dhowan stressed the necessity of recognising the 21st century as the "century of the sea" and the responsibility of the Indian Navy in enforcing the defence of maritime boundaries as also maritime interests of the country in the Indian Ocean region.

He said the nation's economy was indirectly linked to the seas and the onus of safeguarding the seas rested squarely with the Indian Navy.

Dhowan lauded the Western Naval Command for maintaining a high tempo of operations including TROPEX-14, operationalisation of of INS Vikramaditya and other issues.