India, China and Japan recently agreed for better coordination among their naval ships deployed for escort of merchant vessels in the piracy-infested Gulf of Aden
India, China and Japan join hands for piracy control
In a written reply to a question in the Lower House, Defence Minister A K Antony said, “India, China and Japan have recently agreed for better coordination among their naval ships deployed for escort of merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden.”
Denying that the government has plans to sign pacts with neighbouring countries to counter militant activities and check piracy, Antony said, “Nevertheless, the security and surveillance apparatus for coastal defence has been enhanced over the years.”
Strengthening of coastal security apparatus is an ongoing process considering the needs and changing security scenario as well as the threat perception, he added.
In reply to a question on acquisition of fleet tankers, Antony informed the House that Indian Navy has awarded a contract for acquisition of such a ship to a foreign shipyard.
“Steel offered by the Shipyard Fincanteri, in response to the Request for Proposal (RFP) for construction of fleet tanker, was technically evaluated by a Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC),” he said.
Based on technical clarifications offered by the shipyard, which were ratified by two classification societies, the steel offered by the shipyard was accepted by the TEC for the stated purpose, he said.
On cost of constructing the tanker, Antony said, “Taking into account both costing models, the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) considered the cost quoted by Fincanteri of Rs 747.65 crore as the basic cost of the ship to be reasonable.”
In reply to a question on setting up a military base in Lakshadweep, Antony said, “Presently a naval detachment is operational at Kavarathi Island.”
Establishment of military base in Union Territory of Lakshadweep is based on analysis and assessment of the threat perception to coastal security and merchant shipping, as well as requirement from strategic perspective. This is an ongoing and continuous process, he said.
Replying to a query on military assistance provided to Vietnam, Antony said, “Government is pursuing defence cooperation with a number of foreign countries including Vietnam, based on mutual interest of both sides and keeping in view all relevant aspects.”
Defence co-operation activities with foreign countries include high-level visits, training exchanges and other interactions between the armed forces of both sides, he said.