India is charting an ambitious course to bolster its naval might in the Indian Ocean region, primarily to counter China’s expanding presence in the area. The Indian Navy, which currently commands a fleet of 132 warships, 143 aircraft, and 130 helicopters, has unveiled a comprehensive plan to transform into a 175-warship powerhouse by 2035.
This strategic move aligns with India’s unwavering commitment to safeguard its vast geostrategic interests and effectively respond to China’s ever-growing influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The endeavor involves a substantial investment, with approximately Rs 2 lakh crore allocated for 68 warships and vessels currently on order.
To realize this ambitious goal, the Indian Navy has secured initial approval for a fleet of eight next-generation corvettes, nine submarines, five survey vessels, and two multi-purpose vessels. These vessels will be manufactured domestically in the coming years, showcasing India’s commitment to self-reliance in defense production.
Expanding its naval capabilities also entails strengthening its aerial and maritime assets. The plan encompasses an augmentation of fighters, aircraft, helicopters, and drones, enhancing the Navy’s strategic reach, mobility, and operational flexibility in the IOR and beyond.
What does India want to do in the Indian Ocean?
While focusing on modernization, the Indian Navy is simultaneously addressing gaps in its underwater combat capabilities. Delays in “Project-75-India,” which aimed to construct six advanced diesel-electric submarines, prompted the government to take action. They acquired an additional three French-origin Scorpene submarines, supplementing the initial order of six.
Almost all of the 61 ships currently on order are in the process of construction within India. This demonstrates the nation’s unwavering commitment to its indigenous defense manufacturing capabilities.
Notably, Russia is constructing two frigates. Furthermore, two additional guided-missile destroyers, named “Imphal” and “Surat,” are in readiness to join the ranks. These ships will augment the initial two destroyers. “INS Visakhapatnam” and “INS Mormugao,” were commissioned earlier under the Rs 35,000 crore Project-15B.
India’s ambitious naval expansion demonstrates its dedication to safeguarding its maritime interests. It aims to ensure security in the Indian Ocean region. Also, it positions itself to respond effectively to the evolving dynamics in this strategically vital area.