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India planning a 175-ship Navy fleet to counter China in Indian Ocean: Report

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The Navy currently has 132 warships, combined with 143 aircraft and 130 choppers.

Indian Navy's indigenously built Destroyer INS Kolkata, Frigate, INS Sahyadri & P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft take part in the 27th edition of Exercise MALABAR with the navies of United States, Australia, and Japan on the East Coast of Australia off Sydney. 

The Indian Navy has 68 warships on order at the moment, which reportedly is worth around Rs 2 lakh crore. However, the Centre wants to increase India's presence in the Indian Ocean region (IOR), and for that they will have to increase the strength of the Navy fleet.

The Navy currently has 132 warships, combined with 143 aircraft and 130 choppers. It has also managed to procure the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) approval to add nine submarines, eight next-generation corvettes, two multi-purpose vessels, as well as five survey vessels.

All of these will be manufactured within the country. Based on current calculations, it is expected that the Indian Navy's fleet strength will reach to around 155-160 warships by 2030, Times of India reported.

"The figures are dynamic. But the aim now is to have at least 175 warships — if not 200 — by 2035 for credible strategic reach, mobility and flexibility in the IOR and beyond. There will have to be a concomitant increase in the number of fighters, aircraft, helicopters and drones,” a source told the publication.


Metis Insights: Taiwan Strait


It is impossible to overlook China's increasing maritime menace. In order to increase its presence in the IOR and the greater Indo-Pacific, the People's Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) is actively looking for more overseas facilities after Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan, and now maybe Ream in Cambodia.

“China has inducted as many as 150 warships over the last 10 years. Projections show the PLAN may well reach 555 warships in another five-six years. Chinese aircraft carriers will also begin to operate in the IOR by then,” an officer was quoted as saying by TOI.

The Indian Navy, on the other hand, has yet to receive even the preliminary approval for the building of a third aircraft carrier, which will take more than ten years to complete. Instead of a more powerful and economical 65,000-tonne carrier, the argument is now being made for a smaller 45,000-tonne "repeat order" of INS Vikrant, which is still months away from being combat-ready after being commissioned a year ago.


Source: Deccan Herald