NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lauded the Indian Navy on Thursday on its efforts to boost self-reliance saying more than two-thirds of the Navy's modernisation budget has been spent on indigenous procurement in the last five financial years.
Rajnath was reviewing the progress of Phase-II of Karwar also known as Project Seabird. "I want Karwar Naval base to be Asia's biggest. I will even try to raise the budget for it," he said while addressing the press.
Lauding the navy's commitment towards 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', he stated that out of the 48 ships and submarines, 46 are being inducted through indigenous construction.
Describing indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant as a shining example of the navy's self-reliance efforts, Rajnath Singh said, "The commissioning of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant will be a momentous occasion in the history of Indian defence as it is coinciding with the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence."
The Defence Minister inspected the ongoing works at the Naval Base and received on-site briefings including capability demonstration at the Shiplift Tower, the first such facility in the country, which will help in the docking of the ships and submarines.
He also undertook a tour of the Naval Harbour and reviewed the marine works/infrastructure being developed as part of Project Seabird Phase II A as also the operationalisation of Piers.
The Minister also visited the newly-constructed Sailors Married Accommodation, which incorporates advanced features for water efficiency, handling of household waste, energy efficiency and provides environment-friendly houses.
Karwar is home to the Navy's lone aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and also has the country's first sealift facility.
Considering the congestion at the other naval bases, Phase-II of Project Seabird was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 2012 under which it was envisaged to expand facilities to house additional warships and set up a new naval air station among others.
The Defence Minister was accompanied by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh.