New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) Ahead of his visit to Visakhapatnam to witness a major naval war game in the Bay of Bengal beginning Tuesday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday met the top military commanders and security leadership of the country to assess the emerging threat scenarios and review the preparedness of the armed forces.
The meeting, held every month, comes even as the defence ministry prepares to end this fiscal by utilising all of the over $36 billion that was allocated in the defence budget for 2011-12. The government is preparing to present the budget for the next fiscal by the middle of March.
‘The defence minister reviewed the security situation at a meeting here today,’ was the terse one-line statement from the ministry spokesperson here on the meeting.
Among those who attended the discussion included National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, Chief of Army Staff Gen V.K. Singh and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.
On Tuesday, Antony will leave on a two-day visit to Visakhapatnam accompanied by Admiral Verma to review the country’s naval preparedness.
Antony will spend time on Indian Navy’s key warships, including the lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of a war game that the navy is holding for the defence of the country’s Eastern seaboard.
He will witness the theatre-level operational preparedness exercise or Tropex, a major annual exercise of the combined fleets of the navy conducted to test its preparedness to meet any contingency, the spokesperson said.
‘Almost 40 ships from the two fleets (Mumbai-based Western and Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Fleets), as also submarines, 13 naval aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles are participating in the exercise,’ he said.
Indian Coast Guard ships and 18 aircraft of the Indian Air Force too will take part in the massive military exercise.
During the exercise, the navy will carry out a variety of missile firings, air defence and anti-submarine manoeuvres that will be witnessed by Antony.