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Chennai: 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.
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 percent of the country's trade is carried by Indian ships despite the fact that India has over 7,500 km coast line and 95 percent of its international trade by volume is through sea.

Mukherjee said the share of Indian seafarers in the global seafarers is only six percent 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 six percent to nine percent 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.

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