(Eds: Adds details) Visakhapatnam, Dec 8 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind today said the Navy was India's primary instrument of sea power and it was playing an enhanced role in national security and nation building.
Kovind presented President's Colour to the submarine arm of the Indian Navy, which is celebrating its golden jubilee, in recognition of its extraordinary service to the nation in the past 50 years.
Till date, 17 submarines of the Navy have been awarded the Chief of Naval Staff's Unit Citation for exceptional service.
"Today, our maritime interests are directly linked to the economy and security, and to the well-being of our people.
Over 90 per cent of our trade by volume uses the sea route.
All this enhances the role of the Indian Navy not just in national security but in the wider process of nation building.
"The Navy is India's primary instrument of sea power. It is also the guardian of our maritime interests, both military and civilian," Kovind said.
He expressed happiness that the submarine technology was now part of the government's "Make in India" programme.
"This will strengthen our capabilities in the years to come," the president said.
Commending the role being played by the submarine arm over the past 50 years, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces said submarines and their crew had been a crucial part of the Navy's operations.
"In the past 50 years, 25 submarines have been in commission at various points. Submarines are complex, high-technology platforms. They acquire their strength from stealth. Quietly and without much fanfare, our submarines have had major operational achievements Â– in the 1971 War, during Operation Vijay in 1999, and in Operation Parakram, 2002," Kovind said.
"The sea is an unforgiving medium for those who do not respect it. No one knows this better than the valiant submariners of the Indian Navy, who operate their boats and perform their duties beneath the waves," the president said.
He said the scheduled commissioning of Kalvari in her new avatar will complete the "Kalvari to Kalvari" journey.
The first Indian naval submarine, on which the naval ensign and the national flag were hoisted on this day in 1967, was also named Kalvari.
Kovind also paid homage to the Indian Navy submariners who laid down their lives for the nation. PTI DBV NRB GVS .
This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.