India has to increase its turnout of quality maritime personnel and its ship-building capacity if it has to emerge as a major economic power, President Pranab Mukherjee said here Saturday.
Delivering his address at the convocation function of Indian Maritime University. he said: "If India is to emerge as a major economic power in future, it would require substantial stepping up in the out-turn of quality maritime personnel and addition to our ship-building capacity. Ship-building has the potential to generate a lot of employment, both in rural and urban areas."
He said only 10% of the country's trade is carried by Indian ships despite the fact that India has over 7,500 km coast line and 95% of its international trade by volume is through sea.
Mukherjee said the share of Indian seafarers in the global seafarers is only 6% and this has to go up.
In the Maritime Agenda 2020 of the Indian government, a target of enhancing the share of Indian seafarers in international shipping from the current level of 6% to 9% by the year 2015 has been envisaged, he said.
Referring to the high faculty turnover and teething problems at the IMU, Mukherjee expressed his confidence that the university has a bright future ahead.
He hoped that the IMU should aspire to become a Centre of Excellence in the medium term.