M A I N   N E W S

Use sea power for safer trade: PM to Navy
Modi dedicates largest warship INS Vikramaditya to nation, pitches for self-reliance in defence production
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

On board INS Vikramaditya, June 14
Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to strengthen India's naval power for safe trade through the sea.

Interacting with the top brass of the Navy on board INS Vikramaditya, Modi today suggested building maritime supremacy to ensure economic well-being of the nation, sources said. Around 90 per cent of the Indian trade is done through the sea route. The Navy already has a plan to ensure that trade at critical chokepoints is not disrupted in the Strait of Hormuz or the Strait of Mallaca.

In March 2013, the Defence Ministry was warned by the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) about Chinese attack submarines making forays into the Indian Ocean close to the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) that run close to India's coastline.

It had cited 22 such 'contacts' with the submarines of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) since March 2012. Elsewhere, sporadic threats by China and its instructions on sailing in the disputed waters of the South China Sea can impact India's trade running into a couple of hundred billion US dollars with ASEAN countries, Japan and Korea.

Interacting with naval top brass, the Prime Minister said building naval infrastructure would be his priority. He said institutional mechanisms would be put in place to judiciously use the services of retired Navy men.

Earlier, speaking to a select group of officers and sailors, Modi suggested developing indigenous capabilities to make the country self-reliant.

The Prime Minister said that the country should export indigenously made weapons to smaller countries. "Smaller countries across the world must be empowered by India," he said. So far, India has eschewed the option of selling its military products such as radars or hand-held rifles to African and other smaller nations.

Modi was on board the 44,500 tonne Russian-built carrier as the warship sailed in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast this morning. This was his first visit to a military field station since he took over as the Prime Minister. Modi arrived in a helicopter on the warship and witnessed an air power demonstration by Navy planes, including MiG-29K fighter jets and helicopters.

Historic step, says PM

  • Modi terms the addition of the warship to the force as a historic step
  • Says shed dependence on imported defence equipment
  • Interacting with naval top brass, the Prime Minister said building naval infrastructure would be his priority











PM warns of tough fiscal measures
Sanjeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 14
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said tough decisions are required to restore the country’s financial health and revive the economy.

“Tough decisions and strong measures in the coming one or two years are needed to bring financial discipline which will restore and boost the country’s self-confidence”, Modi said addressing BJP workers in Panaji.

This is the first time that Modi after assuming office has spelled out the grim state of the economy and the need to take tough decisions to restore it. Modi also laid the blame for the bad financial situation at the door of the previous UPA government. “I have taken over the reins of the country in circumstances when there is nothing left behind by the previous government. They left everything empty. The country’s financial health has hit the bottom,” Modi said.

While the PM is seeking support on the need to take tough and unpopular decisions, he may also be seeking to manage the high expectations that the mandate has vested in the new government. He clearly said some of these decisions may not go down well with everybody. “I am aware that my steps may dent the immense love that the country has given to me. But when my countrymen would realise that these steps would result in getting the financial health back, then I will regain that love,” he said.

On the other hand, if these tough measures were not taken, the financial situation would not improve, he said.

Later, Modi tweeted that “Time has come to take tough decisions in the interest of the nation. Whatever decisions we take, they will be solely guided by national interest”.

The government now faces immediate challenges in the form of a weak monsoon and a possible oil shock arising out of the Iraq crisis. Monsoon may have the effect of bumping up inflation, more demands from states for relief packages, power shortage and higher import bill. Crude oil has already hit a 9-month high.

Grim state of economy

  • This is for the first time that Modi has spelled out the grim state of the economy and the need to take tough decisions to restore it
  • The harsh decisions may relate to cutting subsidies, raising energy prices, fiscal consolidation, controlling inflation, increasing revenue collection to fund welfare programmes and stabilise country’s financial health



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