Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Indian Navy

Agence France Presse covered the news conference convened by the commander of the 137 ship Indian Navy yesterday. Admiral Prakash stated that the "Indian Ocean is now the highway along which over a quarter of the world's trade and energy requirements move. The Asia-Pacific region holds immense promise for political, economic and military cooperation and the vital role maritime forces play in this regard makes the Indian Navy a key component of the nation's foreign policy. India aspires to a certain position in the world and so we must have a navy commensurate to our needs".

The Admiral announced plans to acquire military hardware that would give the navy increased clout in the strategic energy corridors of the Indian Ocean. India is currently working on a complex project to link up its warships and submarines via satellite. This might entail a dedicated satellite for the purpose. India is also working on establishing a triad of land, air and sea launch platforms for its missile-based nuclear weapons systems. India finalized a US$ 2.1 billion deal to acquire six French Scorpene submarines. It intends to procure three destroyer-class warships from Russia. It plans to purchase 30 long range helicopters and is currently negotiating to lease two anti-submarine P-3 Orion aircraft from the United States. The Navy is awaiting delivery of a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier and an Illushyn-76 aircraft reconfigured for maritime surveillance. It hopes to commission work on an indigenously built aircraft carrier as well. The Navy has already commissioned the indigenous construction of 27 war ships while the procurement of another 36 ships is on the cards.

India had deployed its warships to help devastated Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka during the December, 2004 tsunami. This was in addition to naval relief operations in the far flung Andaman archipelago. Prakash had described this as a "defining moment as people could perceive the speed with which we could react". India had rejected western offers of relief aid during the tsunami.

Indian ships currently need 18 to 24 hours to travel from the east to the west coasts. The Sethusamudram canal project is intended in part to reduce ship travel time and consolidate India's southern flank. Two earlier posts - one on India's alternate sea lanes and another on the Antarctic - might be relevant in light of yesterday's news conference.

2 comments:

doubtinggaurav said...

Jaffna,

Strategic importance of Naval power for protection of trade and defense can not be overemphasised.
Sadly, while public does show interest in Army and Airforce, Navy is ignored.
If India has to stack up to China, Naval prowess and power will be a crucial ingredient.

Regards

cynical nerd said...

Good post. I would like to add the "super secret" ;-) ATV project too to be soon an Indian Navy asset.

One of my other wishlist is to possess SLBM capability in the near future.

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