The Indian Navy currently boasts 68 vessels and warships on order, together worth about Rs. 2 lakh crore, in line with India’s ongoing quest for building a more effective blue-water force to safeguard its geostrategic interests and counter China’s over-evolving footprint in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The 132-warship Indian Navy, with its 143 aircraft as well as 130 helicopters, has the initial approval or “acceptance of necessity” (popular as AoN) for the following eight corvettes, nine subs, five survey vessels, as well as two multipurpose vessels to be constructed in India in the next few years.
Experienced with the sluggish pace of construction in India’s shipyards, the progressive decommissioning of old vessels, and its budgetary constraints, the Navy is reaching a force level of 155 to 160 warships by 2030.
The numbers are dynamic. But the target now is to have 175 warships at least — if not 200 — by 2035 for a more credible and strategic reach, mobility, and flexibility in the IOR.
A source mentioned mentions that there will have to be a concomitant increase in the number of aircraft, fighters, helicopters, and drones.
The evolving maritime threats from China can’t be ignored. The People’s Liberation Army-Navy (abbreviated the PLAN) is aggressively hunting for further overseas bases after Djibouti, which lies on the Horn of Africa, Karachi, and Gwadar, based in Pakistan and now the Ream in Cambodia to overcome the present logistical challenge in the IOR and also the broader Indo-Pacific.
The Indian Navy is yet to get its preliminary nod for building a third aircraft carrier that will take over one decade to be constructed. The case for a smaller 45,000-ton “repeat order” of INS Vikrant, which is months away from becoming fully combat-ready on being successfully commissioned about one year back, is now being finalized instead of a more cost-effective and potent 65,000-ton carrier.
The depleting underwater combat arm is yet another significant worry. With the delay in kicking off Project-75-India to come up with six advanced diesel-electric submarines for more than Rs. 42,000 crore, the government is going in for three additional French Scorpene submarines to be constructed at Mazagon Docks (known as the MDL). These are expected to follow the first six subs built for more than Rs. 23,000 crore there.
China is building its naval warships and vessels furiously to add to what is the world’s largest Navy at the moment, with 355 warships and submarines. China has also successfully inducted nearly 150 warships in the last ten years. The projection shows that the PLAN naval inventory will comprise 555 warships in five to six years. Besides, China’s aircraft carriers will begin operating in the IOR by then.
The good news is that the seven stealth frigates that weigh 6,670 tons each are being built as part of Project-17A- four at the MDL and three at Garden Reach Shipbuilders Enterprises in Kolkata at a cost of approximately Rs. 45,000 crore slated for delivery within 2024 to 2026.
The remaining 61 vessels on order are being built in India, except for the two frigates in Russia. More guided Missile destroyers (INS Surat and INS Imphal) are expected to follow the first two, INS Mormugao and INS Vishakhapatnam, commissioned earlier under the Rs. 35,000 crore assignment -15B at the MDL. There is also the recently inked more than Rs. 19,000 crore contract with Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) for the 44,000-ton fleet support vessels, whose deliveries are expected to begin four years later.
The Cochin Shipyard will also build six new missile destroyers for Rs. 9805 crores, with deliveries starting in March 2027. The deliveries of 11 offshore patrol vessels, with seven at Goa Shipyard Limited and the other four at Kolkata’s GRSE, will start from 2026 around September at a cost of about Rs. 9,781 crore.
References: deccanherald.com, Times Of India
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