The Indian Navy (IN), the world's fifth largest navy, is a well-balanced three-dimensional force consisting of sophisticated missile-capable warships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers, advanced submarines and the latest aircraft in its inventory. Many of the warships are of indigenous design and have been constructed in Indian shipyards. These ships compare well with the ships of similar capability constructed by advanced countries. The Naval forces are maintained and supported by modern dockyard facilities encompassing state-of-the-art technology. At present the Navy has two major Naval bases at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.
The navy is relatively well-armed among Indian Ocean navies, operating one aircraft carrier, over 40 surface combatants, and over a dozen submarines. The fleet is aging, and replacement of ships and aircraft has not been adequately funded. India's coast guard is small and is organized along the lines of the U.S. Coast Guard. With India's long coastline and extensive Exclusive Economic Zone, the navy and coast guard work hard to patrol the waters dictated by India's economic and strategic interests.
The Navy consists of ships such as aircraft carrier, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, mine-sweepers, survey ships, store carriers, tankers, submarines etc., and shore establishments, such as training institutions, dockyard, storage deposits and other miscellaneous, technical and administrative establishments. It also has a separate Aviation Wing consisting of Naval Air Stations and a Fleet Requirement Unit. The training establishments cater for the training of new entry Sailors, apprentices and boys as well as for specialised training of officers and men in mechanical and electrical engineering, gunnery, communication, navigation, anti-submarine and naval aviation etc,. There are also schools for training in seamanship, physical culture, supply and secretariat duties, etc.
There was a marginal increase in naval share of the Defence Budget from 13.32 % in FY 10-11 to 14.13% in FY 11-12. This year (FY 2011-12), the Navy received Rs. 23236.12 Cr, amounting to 14.13 % of the Defence Budget (Rs 1, 64,445.29 Cr). This is however much below the average trends of over 17% prior to implementation of VI CPC. Of this, 59.08% (Rs 13729.12 Cr) is the allocation for Capital Schemes, while 40.92% (Rs 9507.00 Cr) is the Revenue allocation. Of the Rs 13729.12 Cr allocated for capital expenditure, the bulk (Rs 13149.02 Crores) is earmarked for modernisation projects and Rs 580.10 Crores for Land and Construction Works.
By 2011 the Navy faced a shortage of about 18-19% in the authorised strength of Officers and approximately 17% in sailors. With the current induction patterns, the Navy intended to bring down the shortages considerably in the near future. The Navy had a civilian workforce of around 45,000 employees. There was a shortage of about 18% which arose due to restrictions imposed by the government on recruitment from the open market during the period 2001 to 2009. The curb has been lifted and efforts to speed up the recruitment process are in place to bring down the shortage.
Expanding its combat assets by inducting several new platforms including nuclear submarines, fighter planes and aircraft carriers, the Navy has decided to almost double the size of its manpower in next 15 years. "The present strength of Navy today is over one lakh personnel including 8,700 officers, 50,000 sailors and 43,000 civilians. In next 15 years, we plan to increase the numbers to 1.80 lakh with 10,600 officers, 85,000 sailors and 75,000 civilian work force," Navy's Human Resources in-charge Rear Admiral Sachin Ghormade said in May 2013. The Navy has also decided to give B.Tech degrees to its officers to handle the high end technology being inducted into the force and the first batch of its officers with these degrees will pass out from the Indian Naval Academy (INA) in Kerala on Saturday.
The Indian Navy is today a potent and capable force which is highly regarded for its professional competence. The planned induction of advanced platforms and technology, and creation of modern infrastructure, promise to boost the capabilities of the Service even further in the near future. The operating environment is likely to remain in a state of ferment due to a variety of factors which include geo-politics, emerging technologies, and continuously evolving capabilities in our maritime neighbourhood. Notwithstanding scenario-building exercises and other instruments of prognostication, ‘crystal gazing’ remains a hazardous undertaking, making it difficult to predict with any degree of certainty, the challenges that the future may throw up. The Navy expects to operate across the full spectrum of conflict from LIMO to conventional war fighting to nuclear deterrence. The force planning process will therefore take into account the ‘effects’ that are required to be delivered in all three dimensions in order to accomplish Navy’s roles and missions.
All commissioned Indian Naval Ships, Submarines and Shore Establishments fly the Indian Naval Ensign. After January 26, 1950, the ships and submarines of the Indian Navy displayed the Indian Naval Ensign. This Ensign was white in colour, divided into four parts by a Red Cross and had the Indian Flag in its left quarter. From 15th August 2001, Indian Naval Ships, Submarines and Shore Establishments are now adorned with a new Indian Naval Ensign. The present design of the Ensign was made keeping in mind simplicity, commonality of the Ensign with the two other Services and the use of white and Navy blue colours which are traditional to the Navy. The new Naval Ensign now displays the National Flag at the left, top corner and a Navy Anchor with the National Crest above it in Navy Blue. In addition, the Naval Ensign is also flown at the shore Headquarters of a ship or senior officer, at detach Naval Establishments. Naval Ensign can also be flown at Naval Recruiting Office with the permission of Naval Headquarters. Besides, Inter-service establishments like National Defence College, New Delhi, National Defence Academy, Khadakvasala, Defence Service Staff College, Wellington and College of Defence Management, Secunderabad are also authorised to fly the Naval Ensign.
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