In an apparent reference to China, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday called on the Indian Navy to be ready to address security challenges as well as the increasing presence of “extra-regional powers” in the Indian Ocean Region, PTI reported. Jaitley also highlighted the increasing hostility along India’s border with Pakistan during his speech at the annual Naval Commanders’ conference.

In a statement, the Navy said Jaitley spoke of the current and emerging security situation in the sub-continent and said “preparedness is the best deterrent”. The minister told the gathering that procurement plans had prioritised critical capability shortfalls and the modernisation plan was focused on incorporating ship-borne multi role helicopters, conventional submarines and mine counter measure vessels.

The defence indigenisation plans will also be finalised soon, Jaitley said.