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Navy Chief Raises Red Flag Over The Declining Navy Budget On The Navy Day

On the Navy Day, Chief of Indian Navy, Admiral Karambir Singh raised the red flag over the gradual decline of navy budget from 18% in 2012 to 13% in the year 2019-20. Though, the thrust on indigenization has led to 88 percent orders to Indian vendors and shipyards and 50 ships and submarines are currently under construction.

Photo Credit : Indian navy

On the Navy Day, Chief of Indian Navy, Admiral Karambir Singh raised the red flag over the gradual decline of navy budget, despite the fact that Navy has leapfrogged in the quest for indigenization and building a credible force to reckon with. As per the navy record, since December 2018, close to 88% of contracts and AoNs, by value, have been concluded with Indian vendors. Sighting the constraint, Navy chief remarked: "The Navy's share of the Defence Budget has declined from 18% in 2012 to approx 13% in the year 2019-20."  On the such disparity, navy Chief said that he will ensure the allocation. 

"While, we have projected our requirement to the Government, we remain committed to progress force modernisation, using the available resources optimally. In the face of shortages, emphasis is on prioritisation, rationalistion and economy of expenditure", he said.

Navy Chief emphasized the re-calibrated approach of operational deployment philosophy that started two years ago with an aim to enhance our presence and mission-readiness across our areas of maritime interests in the Indian Ocean Region.

He said: "I am pleased to share with you that, not only has this resulted in increasing our footprint and  strategic domain awareness of the vast maritime expanse of IOR but also enabled rapid deployment of our units to address emerging security challenges across the region including HADR assistance to IOR littorals."

Over the Indian navy ambitious P75I program, which is based on the Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP), Chief said DRDO is developing the technology but did not talk about the time frame or the collaboration with OEMs.

Chief summed up the assets ready to be deployed and others under contractual obligations. These include the Aircraft Carrier, Vikrant, P-15B Class Destroyers, P17A class stealth Frigates, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Scorpene class submarines. He said that the last of the P 28 ASW Corvette is scheduled for delivery by early next year.  He said the the delivery of 4 additional P8I Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft is scheduled by 2021. Besides, "We have also contracted for 16 ASW Shallow Water Craft and 36 aircraft which includes HAL built 12 Dorniers, 16 ALH and 08 Chetak helicopters," he elaborated.

On the India's security strategy in the realm of Indo-Pacific region, Admiral Singh said Indian Navy was ready to work with like-minded nations based on common interests of ensuring safe and secure seas and promote rules-based order. Asked on the quadrilateral coalition of India, the US, Japan and Australia, referred as QUAD, Chief said it does not have military role but rather a stabilizing role in the Indo-Pacific region.

A Chinese research vessel was recently driven away from Indian waters near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which violated India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that extends to 200 nautical miles from its coast as per the well established norm of UN. “Our stand is that if you have to do anything in our EEZ, you have to notify us and take permission,” Navy Chief retorted.

"This year, we exercised our composite combat capability through the Navy’s largest biennial war game, Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX-19)," Admiral said.

Indian Navy has actively participated regional maritime exercises with Friendly Foreign Countries (FFCs). "From a conservative figure of eight exercises in 2015, we are now participating in close to 30 bilateral/ multilateral exercises. In addition, under the Government of India’s overall ambit of ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Navy also undertook Joint EEZ patrols of Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius as well as Coordinated Patrols (CORPATs) with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia,"he highlighted.

"In addition to the anti-piracy deployment, Indian Navy was also one of the first maritime forces to respond to the security situation in the Gulf of Hormuz earlier this year. Ever since, we have maintained an unbroken presence in the region escorting approximately 82 Lakh Tonnes of cargo on board 74 Indian Flagged Merchant Vessels, Admiral Karambir Singh pointed put. He further added: "Even as I speak, one of our ships is deployed in the Straits of Hormuz to reassure our merchant marine and enhance security in this region as part of Operation Sankalp."

"We also aim to enhance interoperability between the navies of the region. Last year, the Indian Navy hosted the 10th edition of MILAN at Port Blair. Taking this initiative further, in March next year, the Indian Navy would be hosting MILAN 20 as a Multilateral Exercise at Visakhapatnam," he said. The event is scheduled to witness participation from approx. 41 countries, bringing together maritime forces from all over our region and beyond. China has not been invited for the Milan. 

One of the major initiative of the Indian navy is the Information Fusion Centre at Gurugram which is crucial in the network-centric and intelligence gathering in  maritime security in the IOR. The centre has commenced hosting International Liaison Officers from Friendly Foreign Countries (FFCs) to further enhance interoperability in the maritime domain. Admiral Karambir Singh said the center will expand international cooperation and will have further scope of expansion.

The Navy Day is celebrated to commemorate the success of Operation Trident, which saw Missile boats of the Indian Navy’s Killer squadron, undertaking a daring attack on 04 December 1971 that left Karachi ablaze. 

Force Level Planning and Future Acquisitions:

  • 50 ships and submarines, currently under construction, 48 are being built in Indian shipyards.
  • ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ has also been accorded for 41 ships, 10 KM 31 Helicopters, 24 Multi Role Helicopters and 06 additional P 8I aircraft.  
  • Under the Government’s Strategic Partnership Model, Navy is pursuing the project of P 75 (I) submarines and Naval Utility Helicopters. 
  • The Navy's Long Term Capability Plan envisages induction of three Aircraft Carriers, so that two CBGs are available for dispersed deployments in the IOR at all times. 
  • The broad contours of IAC 2, to be constructed in India as a 65,000 tons CATOBAR carrier with electric propulsion have been formulated and the case will be processed for accord of AoN.
  • The Navy version of LCA Tejas successfully conducted trails integrated with two beyond visual range (BVR) missiles and close combat missiles (CCM). It will be ready for the trails on board INS Vikramaditya.
  •  DRDO and ADA are driving the LCA Tejas, projecting to develop a twin-engine aircraft.
  • Two major Armament Repair Facilities (ARFs) are being set-up and are likely to be commissioned by sometime mid of next year.