Mumbai: Proving unquestionable strength of India’s presence in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy shot many targets with one arrow during its 'Presidential Fleet Review' ceremony on Tuesday. By offering a glimpse of its submarines, warships fighter planes, transport and surveillance aircrafts, India attested its growing power on the global stage.

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China presence in Indian Ocean beefed up

The first show of strength by the Indian Navy on the shores of Mumbai after three years of Mumbai attacks not only established Indian dominance on its seas but also identified its challenges in securing the Indian coasts.
Amidst the blinding fog on Tuesday morning, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard Force cleared the picture of its existence in the Indian Ocean.

After observation of the Navy fleet, the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil asked the Navy to be prepared for the Indian oil search programmes in the Indian Ocean and security concerns. 

President Patil along with Defence Minister AK Antony and three Army chiefs on Indian warship INS Subhadra took the salute of the Naval fleet of 81 ships and 44 aircrafts.

While this biggest show of strength by India on the western coast acclaimed Indian dominance in Arabian Sea, at the same time the Navy‘s strength provides a security blanket to the Indian interests in South China Sea in the wake of any Chinese objection.

Hinting at the India-China differences, the President said, "Safeguarding of our maritime borders is a major requirement for socio-economic well being of our country. The oil exploration activities off our coasts and at sea are of significant economic importance. Therefore, the protection of our coast, our 'sea lines of communications' and the offshore development areas is a major pre-requisite of our nation's development”.
President in her address had a direct reference to China’s objection on Indian oil exploration activities in the South China Sea. It was no coincidence that the show of strength by India included INS Airavat which was asked to leave Vietnam coast by a Chinese radio where India is carrying out oil exploration activities.

The Navy Fleet Review also stressed on the piracy menace as most of several warships present during the exercise had played a prominent role in anti-piracy operations.

President Patil said, “Since the menace of piracy surfaced in our maritime neighbourhood, the Indian Navy has been involved in anti-piracy missions and has earned the gratitude of the maritime community and of other natives operating in the region for their efforts”.

This was the tenth Fleet Review of the Indian Navy which is conducted once in the tenure of a President to showcase to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and the country, the Naval prowess and its strike capabilities. The tradition has been inherited by the British rule.