Social Media, Smartphones Banned at Naval Bases, Docks & Ships: Indian Navy

Indian Navy has issued new guidelines regarding the usage of smartphones by Naval Officers. Accordingly, all Navy Personnel are banned from using social media and even smartphones at naval dockyards, bases, and onboard warships. This comes after 7 people were arrested for leaking sensitive information pertaining to warship location and strategies.

Crux of the Matter
  • Strict measures banning the use of smartphones or social media were announced by the Indian Navy. A senior Navy Personnel said, “All social networking platforms including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other messengers from here on now will not be allowed at the naval bases and ships,”
  • Indian Navy, in conjunction with Central Intelligence agencies and Naval Intelligence, got hold of a racket that transmitted sensitive information through social media to enemy intelligence agencies.
  • Navy men had venereal conversations online with female accounts. Espionage was carried out through blackmailing the arrested Navy Personnel. Movement and position of warships were sought in return of not disclosing the chats.
  • These Navy men were also paid some amount every month through a hawala operator, who also transmitted information to and fro.
  • 3 Navy sailors from Vishakhapatnam, 2 from Mumbai naval base, and 2 from Karwar naval base were arrested by Andhra Pradesh Police.

Indian Naval Accidents – Naval accidents have been attributed to ageing ships in need of maintenance (refit/repairs delayed in spite of laid down rules for refit cycles), delayed acquisitions by the Ministry of Defence, and human error. However naval commentators also argue that as India’s large navy of 160 ships clocks around 12,000 ship-days at sea every year, in varied waters and weather, some incidents are inevitable. Captains of erring ships are dismissed from their command following an enquiry. The accident on board the submarine INS Sindhuratna led to the resignation of the then Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral D K Joshi on 26 February 2014, who assumed moral responsibility for the loss. More Info