State sponsored terrorism is a big challenge and “our hostile neighbourhood” wants to destabilize India, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday at the launch of frigate INS Nilgiri here.

INS Nilgiri, the first ship of the P-17A frigates, was launched here. The defense minister earlier commissioned the India’s second Scorpene-class submarine INS Khanderi in the metropolis.

“We are moving forward, and our commercial interests are getting wider, and with this, our dangers are also getting bigger. We need to understand this reality,” Singh said.

INS Nilgiri is the first of the Indian Navy’s seven new stealth frigates with enhanced stealth features, weapons and sensors.

“Our hostile neighborhood wants to destabilize us. State-sponsored terrorism is a big challenge. Our government is strong willed, and we do not hesitate when to comes to taking tough decisions. Abolition of Article 370 is one such decision,” he said.

Singh also spoke on piracy on sea routes and asserted that the Navy is equipped to thwart such incidents.

“With 70% of our trade by value and 95% by volume taking place through the sea route, even a slight disruption of seaborne trade due to piracy, terrorism, or conflict, could have serious effect on the economic growth and well-being of our nation.

“We are making concerted efforts to modernize the Navy and equip it with the best platforms, weapons and sensors,” the minister said.

Today, the Indian Ocean region is the epicenter of activity and the entire world is watching India and see the Indian Navy as a “Net Security Provider”, Singh said.

Singh expressed confidence that INS Nilgiri and the other six ships of the project will proudly fly the Indian Flag across oceans.

These will prove to be worthy ambassadors of the country, showcasing India’s shipbuilding prowess and spreading India’s message of peace and strength across the globe, the defense minister said.

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