Visakhapatnam/Goa: Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma, on Saturday said that more Mig-29K class air fighter air-craft and helicopters would be inducted into the Indian Navy in the next two years.
    
Talking to media after commissioning of INS Shakti, a fleet tanker, at the Naval Dockyard here on Saturday, he said 29 MIG-29K aircraft and sixteen helicopters would be acquired within two years.
    

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Earlier, 16 aircraft of this class, (12 fighter and 4 trainee aircraft) had been acquired.
    
The Navy Chief also said that aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya would be delivered to the Indian Navy as per the schedule, and Italy was extending cooperation for another aircraft carrier, being built by the Cochin shipyard.
    
To a question, he said the naval surveillance along the coast had been strengthened in association with the Coast Guard and Marine Police. Fishermen too were being roped in, he said.
    
Navy and Coast Guard were creating awareness among the fishermen community for this purpose, he said.
    
Regarding rehabilitation package for those who had lost lands for the alternative naval base at Rambilli Mandal in the district, Verma said the Centre and the Navy had accepted the rehabilitation package submitted by the district administration and the state government, and Centre had released the funds.

INS Shakti inducted

    
Meanwhile, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma, said that induction of Fleet Tanker INS Shakti would mark beginning of a new era of state-of-the-art technologies for the Indian Navy. INS Shakti was commissioned at Naval Dockyard here on Saturday.     

"The ship enhances the reach of the Navy well beyond the limits of the Indian Ocean," Verma said.
    
He congratulated the Fincantieri Shipyard of Italy, which constructed the tanker, for delivering it in time.
    
Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Anup Singh said that INS Shakti would double the strength of the fleet at the Eastern Naval Command.
    
175 metres long and 32 metres wide, Shakti would be one of the largest ships of the Navy. It is capable of carrying over 15,000 tonnes of liquid cargo including fuels for ships and aircraft, as well as fresh water. It can also carry upto 500 tonnes of solid cargo like provisions and ammunition.     

It is fitted with indigenous Anti-Missile Defence Chaff system.
    
Post Master General, Visakhapatnam, Chandra Prakash released a special cover commemorating the commissioning.
    
Italian Ambassador to India Giacomo Sanfelice D'Monteforte and Chief of Naval Staff, Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba too were present.

Navy to upgrade Sea-king, Kamov
    
Moreover, a senior Indian Navy officer on Saturday said the force was planning to upgrade its Sea-king and Kamov helicopters, currently attached to INS Hansa base in Goa, and was also looking for a successor to them.
    
"We will soon augment helicopter force with the upgrade of Sea-king and Kamov helicopters," Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai, Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area, told reporters in Panaji.
    
At the same time, he said, the Navy was scouting for a worthy successor to the Seak-king and Kamov fleet.
    
"Sea-king is anti-submarine warfare helicopter while Kamov is used for airborne early warnings," he said.
    
Some more K-31 or Kamov Airborne early warning helicopters were expected to come shortly from Russia, he said.
    
Pillai said although there was need for upgradation, the Navy continues to operate the TU-142s and IL-38s, both maritime surveillance aircrafts, for reconnaissance.

JPN/Agencies