PM dedicates Ezhimala Naval Academy

Ezhimala (Kerala): Dedicating the Indian Naval Academy here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Thursday that the Indian Navy has a key role in protecting the country from threats coming across the sea.

All through his brief speech, Singh stressed upon the threats from across the sea and urged the Navy to develop credible strategies to counter these threats.
"There is a marked increase by terror groups using the blue waters and this is a cause of concern," he said, adding the Navy, Coast Guard and intelligence agencies must coordinate effectively.
Also both the Navy and Coast Guard should have the best equipment as well as training, Singh said.
"The modernization of the Indian Navy will go ahead and the number of naval exercises we had with our friendly countries has helped the Navy a lot," added Singh.
"Moreover, we have close relations with countries in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. The Middle East is part of our valued neighbourhood and they look upon India as they know who they can depend on," the Prime Minister said, asking the Navy has to be fully prepared.
Speaking on the occasion, Defence Minister A.K. Antony recalled that he was fortunate to be here for the dedication, because he had also been there when the foundation stone was laid.
The academy at Ezhimala in Kannur district, the foundation stone for which was laid way back in 1987 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has become a reality after 22 years.
"Kerala, among all other states, has been the best friend of the Navy because half a century back, Navy set up its establishment at Kochi. Moreover, this unit will now be a friend for the fisher folk when they go out to sea for fishing, especially during the rainy season," he said.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy also took part in the function.
The Rs.7.21 billion ($149 million) naval school will conduct B.Tech courses for 750 cadets and commissioned officers from the academic session commencing next year.
The engineering programmes at the academy have been drawn up by the Indian Navy with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
The nearly 2,500-acre sprawling academy is situated on a promontory that was the capital of the ancient Mooshika kings. It was a flourishing sea port and centre of trade in ancient Kerala and one of the major battle fields during Chola-Chera war in the 11th century. It is believed that Lord Buddha also visited Ezhimala.