Ranjit B Rai on IDF www.indiadefenceforum.com
The Navy is 65,000-strong and is commanded by Admiral Sunil Lanba (Specialist Navigator) and has three Commands–Eastern
(Vishakapatnam), Western (Mumbai) and Southern Command (CochinTraining command). The Navy has two major Dockyards at Mumbai and Vishakapatnam and new ones coming up at Karwar (Phase II) and Rambhilli South of Vishakapatnam (Varsha-Submarines). There is one Tri-Service Command for the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Navy is the main component. IAF assets are at Nicobar.
India’s Armed Forces are a potent Armed Force but their structure for the higher direction of war, equipment induction and jointness,
theatre commands and a Chief of Defence Staff for synergy has been left more or less pending, as at Independence, when the Government disbanded the Commander-in Chief and appointed individual Chiefs of Staff. A large Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) was formed as a pre-cursor to reforms but its charter under the MoD is flexible and reforms are expected and overdue. The large 39-laboratory DRDO has delivered on nuclear and missiles in the main, and small but not on big projects looking to imports. India is a large importer.
The procurement procedure has been tinkered with Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) but except for serious ‘Make In India’ efforts by leaning on civil industry by the Navy, progress has been poor. The Defence budget currently around US$40 Billion is allocated with around 55% to the revenue-intensive Army, IAF 25%, and in waxing and waning measures 14 to 18% to the Navy.
The Navy needs more Sea Legs as India’s maritime esponsibility has recently increased to safeguard trade towards Western Asia with the commissioning of Phase 1 of the Chabahar Port in Sistan-Balochistan in Iran to connect Iran with Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan under the trilateral transit and transport agreement signed by PM Modi in Teheran in May 2016. The $340 million project was constructed by a Revolutionary Guard-affiliated company, Khatam al-Anbia bringing up the annual handling capacity to 8.5 million tons. The security of the trade will rest on the Indian Navy passing below Gwadar.
In another development, Singapore’s Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen signed a historic Navy-to-Navy agreement with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman, “We encourage yje Indian Navy to visit Changi base (Singapore) more often. The bilateral Navy agreement includes mutual logistics support.” This is like a Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and enhances India’s Navy Eastward responsibility for the Malacca Straits and further India has an ambitious maritime template in SAGAR and beyond but it will be challenging given the modest 15% budgetary support that the navy receives in relation to the other two services. The induction of major platforms given below has to sustained and uninterrupted manner — the critical determinant for sturdy sea legs to maintain the operational credibility of the navy.
CURRENT & FUTURE INDIAN NAVY AT A GLANCE
- The current Naval Strength of the Indian Navy is 130 Ships and 13 aging submarines (9 Kilos 4 HDW 1500) and 2 nuclear submarines INS Chakra & home made
- INS Arihant built at SBC Vishakapatnam with K-15/B-05 750 Range Nuclear Tipped Missiles.
- 34 ships and 6 submarines are on order in Indian yards, and 20 more stand approved by the Defence Acquisition Council(DAC).
- 1 STOBAR Aircraft Carrier Vikrant 37,500 tons at Cochin Shipyard Ltd. Due 2020. 45 Mig-39Ks (White Tigers and Panther Squadrons) arrived based in INS Hansa Goa . ($ 5 bill).
- 4 Type 15B 7,400 ton with 16 Brahmos and 16 Barak-8 MR missile destroyers at MDSL with improved circular composite bridge structure, a modern trend in warship design. ($ 5 bill).with M/F Star Radars. E/LM – 2428.
- 7 Type 17A 6,000 ton FRIGATES Brahmos & Barak fitted with AMDR Radar . 4 at MDSL and 3 at GRSE. These are improved Shivalik class. ($ 5 bill) likely 2019 onwards.
- 1 of 4 Project 28 ASW 3,000 ton Corvettes left at GRSE. ($ 500 mill). 1 OPVBarracuda exported to Mauritius. Kavratti due to commission in 2018.
- 5 Naval 2,800 ton OPVs at Reliance Defence Ltd. ($ 400 bill). Severely Delayed.
- 6 Type P75 Scorpene submarines at MDSL. First Kalvari commissioning due 2017and Khanderi 2018. ($5.3 bill). 6 more on option in Project 75I with AIP.
- Plans for a Nuclear deterrent Arihant II and amphibious capability of One Division. (Cost not available. Guesstimate $ 3 bill).
- 3 Training Ships at ABG merchant ship design. ($ 263 mill). – Stalled.
- 5 Survey Catamarans at Alcock Ashdown suspended. ($ 130 mill). Stalled.
- 5 LCUs at GRSE and Fast Attack Craft.2 DSRV James Fisher with AMC. ($ 290 Mill) – Arrival 20181 Floating Dock on L&T for Port Blair.
- 10 ISVs for Vietnam by L & T. Humsa Sonars for Myanmar.
- 4 P8i Boeing 737 MR planes, 12 Dorniers. ($ 1 bill).
- Further Tentative Programme -DAC/PMO Approved
- 4 LPD/H RFPs to be opened, Mistral Variety.
- 6 P 75I and 6 SSN submarines. 16 Small ASW vessels 15 NGMVs. 15X Coastal
- Missile Defence systems. 16 Multi role helicopters 57 Light Utility Helicopters.(LUH).
- 5 Tanker support ships (from Hyundai at HSL).
- 4 Krivacks- 2 from Russia and 2 in India at GSL. President Putin level at BRICS Summit Goa with PM NarendraModi. Being reduced.
- 8/12 MCMVs at Goa Shipyard-Kangnam S. Korea LOI issued.
- 3rd Aircraft Carrier Vishal and 16 Multirole helicopters Stalled after Design stage with DDTI help.