Mumbai: President Pratibha Patil on Monday urged the Navy to strengthen itself and ensure regional peace as it is essential for India's increasing power and expanding interests.
"India's growing national power and its expanding vital interests not only present an opportunity for us to strengthen our 'Blue Water' Navy but make it imperative to do so," she said during a banquet hosted in her honour by the Navy.
"India's growing interests are leading to commensurate additional responsibilities that will need to be shouldered by our Navy to ensure regional peace and stability," Patil, who is in the city to review the Naval fleet on Tuesday, said.
The banquet and a Naval band concert was held in the evening as a prelude to the iconic and historic event where the Navy displays its prowess.
Since early times the national leaders had realised "the importance of maritime affairs and the need to be strong at sea," she said.
Patil quoted country's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru's words -- "to be secure on land, one must be supreme at sea" to stress the importance of a strong and powerful Navy.
"This (Nehru's quote) remains as true today as it was then. However, the security environment prevailing at that time and our own resource limitations placed severe constraints upon us to realise his (Nehru's) vision to the
fullest. The present scenario is not the same," she said.
Patil also released a commemorative stamp and a coffee table book on the eve of the fleet review.
During the event, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said his force will be "ever vigilant and combat ready" in guarding country's interests.