India Navy Needs Third Aircraft Carrier to Effectively Take on Adversaries, Parliamentary Panel Says
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh has recently said that cooperation between China and Pakistan will change the security dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy currently has one aircraft carrier, while the construction of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier has been delayed for various reasons.
A parliamentary standing committee on defence has recommended an "unavoidable requirement" of a third aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy to boost the combat capabilities in the Indian Ocean Region.
If the Defence Ministry includes the recommendation in the upcoming acquisition plan, the Indian Navy will mirror China's People's Liberation Army Navy in aircraft carrier strength.
"Taking into account the long coastline and hostile adversities on both sides of the Indian peninsula, an aircraft carrier on both sides of the coast is quintessential to uphold operational requirements," the report submitted to the parliament during the ongoing Winter Session read.
The recommendation comes as the Indian Navy works on a modified 15-year Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, while the Department of Military Affairs is toiling a 10-year Integrated Capability Development plan.
Head of Department of Military Affairs Gen. Bipin Rawat, who tragically died in a military helicopter crash last week, had questioned the requirement of the third aircraft carrier.
Presently, the Indian Navy operates only a Russian origin INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, while the second aircraft carrier, which can host 30 aircraft and helicopters, is undergoing an advanced stage of trials.
The Indian Ministry of Defence has cited the COVID pandemic for the delay in delivery of the second aircraft carrier.
The parliamentary committee flagged "repeated delays in achievement of various milestones in the project", leading to huge time and money overruns in the construction.
The panel expressed satisfaction over the progress of 41 ships and submarines, which are under construction at various shipyards. 24 Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) and four additional Boeing P8I surveillance planes are scheduled for delivery in the near future.
Last month, Indian Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh admitted that the force closely monitors the ongoing cooperation between China and Pakistan. Pakistan has set a target to induct eight Chinese submarines by 2028.
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