INDIA NEEDS A POWERFUL BLUE-WATER NAVY TO
Project power & guard huge strategic interests from Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait, & beyond
Counter China’s expanding footprint in IOR & deter Pakistan
Project daily transit of sea trade worth $2 billion & sprawling offshore assets
LEVELS OF FORCES AT PRESENT
Existing- 138 warships (includes 45,000-tonne aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, 48 major warships & 15 submarines) & 235 aircraft/helicopters
Under-Construction- 28 warships (including 40,000-tonne carrier INS Vikrant), 6 diesel-electric Scorpene submarines, 3 nuclear submarines (SSBNs after INS Arihant) for over `3.5 lakh crore
Plan- 212-warship (198 capital ships & 14 small ships) & 458-aircraft Navy by 2027
- 65,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier-II (INS Vishal)
- 6 Nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) to be constructed at Vizag (Rs 60,000 crore)
- 4 Grigorivich-class frigates from Russia (Rs 26,000 crore)
- 2nd nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) on lease from Russia after INS Chakra ($1.5 billion)
- 111 armed light utility helicopters (Rs 21,738 crore)
- 24 multirole helicopters with advanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities (Rs 12,000 crore). Another 123 such choppers later
- 12 Mine Counter-Measure Vessels (Rs 32,000 crore)
The Great Game in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), where both India and China are jostling for the same strategic space, is unfolding at a rapid clip. A Chinese nuclear submarine is expected to cross over into the IOR early 2019.
WHAT INDIA WILL BE DOING?
In keeping with past deployments, India would be kicking off major military exercises to project power and hone combat capabilities on the high seas.
Concurrently, India is also fast-tracking plans to eventually induct six nuclear powered attack submarines (SSNs), four nuclear-powered submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) and 18 diesel-electric submarines. At present, Navy has only 13 old conventional submarines, one indigenous SSBN in INS Arihant, which was commissioned last year, and a SSN in INS Chakra leased from Russia, which does not have nuclear-tipped missiles due to international treaties.
But INS Aridhaman, the second of four indigenous SSBNs being constructed at Vishakhapatnam for over Rs 90,000 crore, is slated for induction next year. Moreover, India has also launched the over Rs 60,000 crore plan to construct six indigenous SSNs.
The SSN project “mission-based deployments” from the Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait, with warships on round-the-clock patrols for any operational eventuality. Regular deployment of warships and aircraft is being maintained in North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, the Andaman Sea and the approaches to the strategically important straits of Malacca, Lombok and Sunda. Indian ships and aircraft are deployed from the Gulf of Aden to the Western Pacific on an almost 24 x 7 basis.
The force will also hold its massive “Tropex”that is theatre level operational readiness exercise, on both the western and eastern seaboards, one after the other, for the first time early next year.
Courtesy-The Times of India, New Delhi