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Navy's war room brief for Jaitley on critical needs

NEW DELHI (PTI): Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan has briefed Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on the issues facing the maritime force including the depleting underwater force levels and the status of the indigenous nuclear submarine programme.

The Defence Minister on Thursday was given a detailed one-hour presentation by the Navy Chief himself on the issues facing the force and its immediate requirements for meeting its operational tasks couple of days before Jaitley visits Mumbai to review the preparedness of Western Command there, Navy officials said.

Dhowan is understood to have briefed Jaitley about the recent mishaps involving the two Russian-origin Kilo class submarines and the impact it has had on the operational capabilities of the force.

The Navy chief also stressed on the need for inducting more underwater vessels to meet the requirements of the force including the early procurement of new submarines under the Project-75 India and speedy construction of six Scorpene vessels.

The briefing was attended by all Principal Staff Officers of the Navy, including Vice Chief Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, Deputy Chief RK Pattanaik and other three-star rank officers based in New Delhi.

The Navy also stressed on providing additional budget for the construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, which is being built by the Cochin Shipyard Limited.

The force also stressed on the importance of inducting 16 multirole helicopters, which have been stuck for over the last two years due to one reason or the other and frequent complaints filed by bidders who have been expelled from the tender.

The Minister was also briefed on the status of the salvage operations of the INS Sindhurakshak, which sunk on August 14 after an explosion killing all 18 persons on board.

Navy officials said the Kilo class submarine has been lifted from the ground using jacks by an American firm and it is expected to surface above the sea level very soon.

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