Q 11. How is India securing its trade route from pirates? What kind of protection is provided to the ships moving off Indian coast?

Ans. A large percentage of India’s trade, including oil and fertilisers, passes through the Gulf of Aden. The Ministry of Shipping has estimated that, Indian imports through the Gulf of Aden route were valued in the order of USD 50 Billion and exports at USD 60 Billion. The safety and unhindered continuity of maritime trade, through ships that use this route, is a primary national concern as it directly impacts our economy. Although this task accounts for only 13% of our trade (the remainder is carried in foreign ‘bottoms’), the crew of most foreign flagged vessels comprise Indian nationals, as India’s large seafaring community (approximately 100,000 in number) accounts for 6-7% of the world’s seafarers.

Piracy in Gulf of Aden, Somalian Coast, Omani Coast and seas between the African coastline and Maldives is a global menace, being fought not only by IN, but also by numerous Navies of the World. India on its part is actively engaged in anti piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Eastern Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy commenced anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden from October 2008 and since then a ship has been deployed continuously. Besides escorting Indian flagged vessels, ships of other countries have also been provided protection. No ship under Indian escort has thus far been hijacked by pirates.

Q 12. Despite coordinated efforts to protect ships, pirates still strike and hijack it. Some experts argue that getting all the countries under one unified command would greatly improve the efficiency of international counter piracy activities. What is t

Ans. Efforts of international navies have been quite effective in bringing down the success rates of piracy. Action by navies has denied freedom of operations to the pirates and has deterred and dissuaded them from carrying out attacks in areas where navies are currently deployed. It needs to be highlighted that naval deployments and command and task organisations for them are in accordance with their respective national mandates.

A unified command approach to anti piracy deployments would be useful in further improving the efficiency of ongoing naval operations. India would prefer to operate under an “UN construct” for such unified operations. However, even in the absence of a formal unified structure, cooperation between navies for coordinating anti piracy operations has been excellent.

Q 13. What is the MILAN Initiative?

Ans. The MILAN initiative is a naval interaction held biennially at Port Blair wherein some navies represented by one/two ships each, as also delegations, interact with each other to discuss issues related to maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief etc. MILAN has been conducted so far in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2010 & 2012. 14 countries participated in MILAN 2012.

Q 14. What are the rules concerning Permanent Commission to SSC Officers?

Ans. SSC officers are presently inducted under the 10+4 scheme, wherein the officer serves for 10 years and can exercise the option of extending his service by 4 years. PC is granted to SSC officers subject to service requirement and availability of vacancies. Further, the grant of PC is governed by Regs Navy Part III, Statutory, Chapter IV Article 124(7) & 126(7), Chapter IX Article 203.

SSC-to-PC conversion is presently applicable to Technical Officers (Engineering and Electrical). Grant of PC to SSC officers of Law, Education and Naval Construction Cadre is effective for batches that have been inducted wef Oct 08. Officers would be considered for grant of PC based on their performance and recommendations in ACRs. The officers are required to be medically fit as per Naval Standards and no disciplinary/ vigilance case should be pending against the officers.

Officers volunteering for PC are to forward their willingness for extension of service under 10+4 scheme through respective formations. SSC officers would be given two chances to opt for PC/ extension of service. The two chances would be in the sixth and seventh years of service. The selection would be based on inter-se merit of the officers under consideration and subject to availability of vacancies.

Q 15. What are the rules regarding employment of Women officers in the Indian Navy?

Ans. Women officers in the Navy are accorded equality in all aspects of the service. The duties and job specification, training, working conditions, promotion prospects, pay and allowances and service conditions of these officers is exactly the same as that of their male counterparts and there is no gender discrimination whatsoever. The appointment of these officers is planned with the aim of best utilising their qualifications, talent, expertise, aptitude and experience gained during various tenures. However, the employment of women in the Indian Navy is, for the time being, restricted to non-combat areas and to shore-billets only.

At the present juncture, women-officers are being inducted as SSC officers into the ‘Law’, ‘Logistics’, ‘Observers’ and ‘ATC’ Cadres of the ‘Executive Branch’, in the ‘Naval Constructor’ Cadre of the ‘Engineering Branch’, and, in the ‘Education Branch’. The Government has approved grant of PC prospectively to women officers in Education Branch and Law and Naval Constructor Cadres for batches commencing Oct 08.

Q 16. What are the shortages being faced by the Indian Navy today in terms of manpower?

Ans. The Indian Navy today comprises about one lakh uniformed and civilian personnel of which the uniformed manpower is about 69,000. The Navy is facing a shortfall in both uniformed and civilian personnel. The shortfall of uniformed personnel is about 21% for officers and 18% for sailors. The shortfall for civilian personnel, with a current shortage of some 8,000 individuals, amounts to 18%. Civilian personnel form the backbone of our maintenance force and have longstanding expertise. Adequate measures have been put in place to mitigate these shortages.

Q 17. Is the Indian Navy satisfied with the quality of its manpower?

Ans. We are very proud of the discipline, hardiness, resilience, innovativeness, and leadership-qualities of our human-resource and are confident that this provides us with a definitive edge over many regional and extra-regional navies.
The Navy is a true reflection of the technological progress of our country. The degree of skill required for running sophisticated ships, submarines and aircraft of the Indian Navy is no mean feat. The fact that our Navy is recognised globally as the principal regional maritime force in the Indian Ocean is indicative of the high quality of the men running it and the training they receive. The last few years have been particularly challenging in the sense that the Navy had to actively reach out to the country, in spreading awareness about the excellence of a career in the Service. As far as sailors are concerned, the Navy is able to pick and choose the best amongst the eligible volunteers. For officers too, all the entries have been oversubscribed and the cut-off percentage for the short-listing of candidates is constantly rising. The cut-off percentage for the 10+2 (Cadet Entry Scheme) Scheme is above 70%, which in itself is indicative of high quality. If past trends are any indication, the quality of the inducted officers is comparable to the best in the country with cut-off reaching as high as 85%.