India Needs More Aircraft Carriers But Not At The Cost Of Key Strike Elements

The Ultranationalist

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First the good news: the Indian Navy may soon tap the government for funds to build a second aircraft carrier. This would either be a 65,000-tonne nuclear-powered flattop or a 100,000-tonne supercarrier. The Navy’s move is significant because India is currently down to one carrier even as China has publicised its plan to develop six such vessels.

Now the bad news: According to Vice Admiral D M Deshpande, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, the new carrier could come at the expense of other projects and weapons as it is a “very big-ticket item”.

Before we analyse whether India needs more aircraft carriers, let’s take a look at the consequences of spending on carriers while ignoring other critical areas of defence.

In 1963, T N Kaul, India’s ambassador in Moscow, asked Russian defence minister Marshal Rodion Malinovsky what sort of defence preparedness India needed against the Chinese threat. The Indian Navy’s official history ‘Transition to Triumph’ records Malinovsky’s response.

He replied that what India needed was a strong, mobile Army, Navy and Air Force, well equipped with the latest weapons. Instead of a prestigious, overhauled, old British aircraft carrier (which he called the fifth leg of a dog and an easy target), India should go in for a submarine fleet to guard her long coastline.
Malinovsky wasn’t the first geopolitical expert who scratched his head in disbelief at a poor country acquiring a large and expensive carrier while neglecting its defence against hostile neighbours. Six years earlier, when Second World War hero Marshal Georgy Zhukov had visited India, he had disapproved of the Indian Navy’s decision to acquire an aircraft carrier, saying India was only doing it in order to make Britain happy.

Both Malinovsky and Zhukov had made pivotal contributions to Russia’s defence, especially in the Battle of Stalingrad, and as such were masters of warfare. However, on both occasions, Nehruvian India disregarded the advice of the battle-hardened commanders. The consequences of fielding an under-equipped military were visible in the next three wars.

In 1962, when the Chinese waltzed through the Himalayan frontier, the Indian Army was completely unprepared, lacking even winter clothing. INS Vikrant, which had been commissioned the previous year, played no role in the war.

Again, during the 1965 war, while the Indian Air Force flew Second World War Mysteres and Vampires against Pakistan’s latest United States-gifted F-86 Sabres, the Vikrant did not go out to sea at all.

In early 1971, when the political leadership decided to go to war, the Vikrant had been rusting in the harbour for over three years with cracked boilers. The flagship was pressed into service in a semi-fit condition because the Navy feared the Vikrant would be called a “white elephant and naval aviation would be written off”. Fleet Operations Officer G M Hiranandani told the naval brass, “Vikrant has to be seen as being operational, even if we do not fly the aircraft.”

Pakistan, on the other hand, had acknowledged its limitations and, instead of going for expensive surface vessels, decided submarines were a better option. The Pakistan Navy acquired its first sub in 1963 – four years before India did.

Because of the threat posed by Pakistan’s long-range submarine Ghazi, the Indian Navy had to hide the Vikrant in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was only after the Ghazi was sunk that the carrier started operations in the Bay of Bengal.


The case for more carriers ::

There is no doubt that India, which is poised to be the world’s third-largest economy and great power, requires more carriers. In a 2009 report titled ‘China’s Maritime Rights and Navy’, Senior Captain Li Jie, an analyst at the Chinese navy’s strategic think tank Naval Research Institute, declared, “No great power that has become a strong power has achieved this without developing carriers.”

Carriers are an essential element of sea control. According to India’s maritime doctrine, “Sea control is the central concept around which the Indian Navy is structured, and aircraft carriers are decidedly the most substantial contributors to it. This is because they possess ordnance delivery capability of a very high order, often greater than the balance fleet units in the Task Force. This is by means of their substantial integral air power, which provides integral, ubiquitous and enhanced combat power, with extended reach and rapid response capability.”

At a bare minimum, India should have three carriers – one for each seaboard, with a third on standby. India was without a carrier task force for six months in 2016 as its lone flattop INS Vikramaditya was undergoing maintenance.

Having three carriers on call is an ideal situation but is possible only if funds allow. If the Navy is prepared to sacrifice other platforms to divert funds to the second carrier, where does it propose to get money for the support vessels?

For, an aircraft carrier doesn’t travel alone. It usually operates with, and is at the centre of, a composite task force, including multi-purpose destroyers, frigates, submarines and logistics ships. The carrier task force is a self-contained and balanced force, capable of undertaking the entire range of operational tasks.

We do not want a situation like that in 1971 when a limping Vikrant was sent into battle along with only four light frigates (one of which lacked sonar) and a lone submarine to provide anti-submarine protection. In his book No Way But Surrender, Vice Admiral N Krishnan writes, “Even assuming that no operational defects developed, it would still be necessary to withdraw ships from the area of operations for fuelling. The basic problem was that if reasonable anti submarine protection had to be provided to Vikrant and the escort ships had to be in close company for this purpose, then how were 18,000 square miles to be kept under surveillance?”

The Navy had deployed the entire complement of the Vikrant’s aircraft in offensive operations against East Pakistan, leaving none for the carrier’s defence. It was a calculated risk that paid off. Had Pakistan been in possession of another long-range submarine, the story may have been different.


Don’t cannibalise the Navy ::

While aircraft carriers are symbols of prestige, the bits and parts needed to win wars must not be neglected. Sadly, this has happened. For instance, India’s submarine strength currently stands at 15 vessels and is behind Pakistan’s fleet of 17. Even North Korea, which can barely feed its population, has a fleet of 70 subs, which is why the United States carriers keep a safe distance from the Korean peninsula.

Submarines are the true predators of the deep and will allow India to wreak havoc on its adversaries during a war. A fleet of 24 subs (the sanctioned strength), but ideally 50 undersea vessels, can target every task force in the Indian Ocean. During the 1999 Kargil War, it was a submarine, and not a carrier, that was poised to deliver the first blow had India decided to escalate the conflict. INS Sindhurakshak was deployed very close to Karachi and had its torpedoes trained on the harbour installations.

As well as subs, India needs to spend on other less glamorous but critical weapons platforms such as missile boats, frigates, stealth ships, minesweepers, land and ship attack missiles, torpedoes, shore-based radar, close-in warfare weapons, electronic warfare suites and maritime satellites.

Former chief of naval staff Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat writes in Betrayal of the Armed Forces that after the 1971 war complacency had set into the force. For instance, the Indian Navy, which had devastated Karachi harbour with its Russian Styx standoff missiles (outside the adversary’s range) and thereby taken the lead in ship-to-ship standoff missile warfare, yielded space to Pakistan in two critical areas. “(Pakistan) acquired the wherewithal to become capable of standoff air-to-surface missile warfare in which they took a 15-year lead and sub-surface to surface missile standoff missile capability in which they took a 20-year lead, all in a 25-year tenure span,” Admiral Bhagwat explains.


The Navy as a force multiplier ::

India cannot – and should not – match China carrier for carrier, but it should emulate the Chinese strategy of shipbuilding to boost the economy. Admiral Bhagwat points out that the Chinese military and political leadership had declared as a matter of state policy that shipbuilding would be the springboard for China’s industrial development. For India, this is especially advantageous because it is hemmed in to the north and the northeast, and the only strategic space the country has to manoeuvre is in the oceans.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

BY : Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and writes on defence and foreign affairs for Russia Beyond the Headlines, a global media project of Moscow-based Rossiyskaya Gazeta. He is on the advisory board of Europe-based Modern Diplomacy.
Rakesh’s articles on defence and foreign have been quoted extensively by a number of leading think tanks, universities and publications worldwide. He has been cited in books on counter terrorism and society in the global south.

https://swarajyamag.com/defence/ind...rs-but-not-at-the-cost-of-key-strike-elements
 

busesaway

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I think the idea that India could enter a major war and then subsequently win is still far-fetched. It's main mega-wars would either be fought against the Middle East or China, both of which have vastly more funds and equipment than India does.

Therefore I think it's best if India focuses on securing its borders (walls) and internal security through investment in police and paramilitary. It could even dissolve its extraterritorial units and convert them for internal security usage.

I would actually prefer to choose the supercarrier, as long as it was entirely build in India using a method where Indian scientists learn about the build, as that would both advance the ability of India to develop new military equipment AND increase the projection of the Indian navy.

A supercarrier would also be equipped with soldiers, helicopters, and airplanes - essentially reducing the need for similar services to be performed by other parts of the military (army or airforce) - which would be good for India as it hardly has any land based wars to fight beyond what's more akin to terrorism (Maoists and Islamists).

It would also be more useful in the future so that India can take part in conflicts such as the European side of the Middle East or South China Sea. I've always been an advocate of using this deal to secure berthing space at Crimea - it would be a tit-for-tat for the British Indian Ocean Territory if NATO is really concerned about military deals with Russia...
 

singhboy98

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I think the idea that India could enter a major war and then subsequently win is still far-fetched. It's main mega-wars would either be fought against the Middle East or China, both of which have vastly more funds and equipment than India does.

Therefore I think it's best if India focuses on securing its borders (walls) and internal security through investment in police and paramilitary. It could even dissolve its extraterritorial units and convert them for internal security usage.

I would actually prefer to choose the supercarrier, as long as it was entirely build in India using a method where Indian scientists learn about the build, as that would both advance the ability of India to develop new military equipment AND increase the projection of the Indian navy.

A supercarrier would also be equipped with soldiers, helicopters, and airplanes - essentially reducing the need for similar services to be performed by other parts of the military (army or airforce) - which would be good for India as it hardly has any land based wars to fight beyond what's more akin to terrorism (Maoists and Islamists).

It would also be more useful in the future so that India can take part in conflicts such as the European side of the Middle East or South China Sea. I've always been an advocate of using this deal to secure berthing space at Crimea - it would be a tit-for-tat for the British Indian Ocean Territory if NATO is really concerned about military deals with Russia...
The Middle-Eastern countries neither have the resources nor the gumption to fight India. The armed forces of those countries are a bunch of pussies who could not defend their own mothers in when faced with a powerful enemy. No way can they stand against a proud and a battle hardened Indian Army. We hone our edge with experience. Something neither of your worthy enemies have (not even China). Not to mention, no country other than the US has a logistics capabilities sufficient enough to sustain a war with India.

China on the other hand, is a legitimate threat. The threat from China is compounded vy the fact that we share a border with them and that they have an economy which is 5 times bigger than ours. The only thing they lack is experience.
 

no smoking

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The Middle-Eastern countries neither have the resources nor the gumption to fight India..... has a logistics capabilities sufficient enough to sustain a war with India.
Well, they have enough resources to hire foreign power to fight anyone (including India). Remember, currently these middle east countries are under the protection of either US, or Russia. In the meantime, most of them have a very good relationship with China. They have been buying weapons from China for quite long time.

And most importantly, they have no enemy except themselves.

China on the other hand, is a legitimate threat. The threat from China is compounded vy the fact that we share a border with them and that they have an economy which is 5 times bigger than ours. The only thing they lack is experience.
Yes, India enjoys some advantage of experience in certain areas, but not big enough to decide a war.

On the other hand, Chinese has no resource to fight a war against India unless India corners China. Yes, they have a 5 times bigger economy, but keep this in mind: they are engaging an opponent with almost 2 times economy and 6 times military power just outside their doorway. And unlike India, this opponent has overwhelm experience in every single field.

The last thing China wants is to fight a war against another power thousand miles away.
 

singhboy98

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Well, they have enough resources to hire foreign power to fight anyone (including India). Remember, currently these middle east countries are under the protection of either US, or Russia. In the meantime, most of them have a very good relationship with China. They have been buying weapons from China for quite long time.

And most importantly, they have no enemy except themselves.
Ok, so you think that the US will fight India for some petty dollars offered by the middle east ? I am talking about the US because only the US can sustain a war so faraway. You are sorely mistaken.
 

mendosa

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First the good news: the Indian Navy may soon tap the government for funds to build a second aircraft carrier. This would either be a 65,000-tonne nuclear-powered flattop or a 100,000-tonne supercarrier. The Navy’s move is significant because India is currently down to one carrier even as China has publicised its plan to develop six such vessels.

Now the bad news: According to Vice Admiral D M Deshpande, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, the new carrier could come at the expense of other projects and weapons as it is a “very big-ticket item”.

Before we analyse whether India needs more aircraft carriers, let’s take a look at the consequences of spending on carriers while ignoring other critical areas of defence.

In 1963, T N Kaul, India’s ambassador in Moscow, asked Russian defence minister Marshal Rodion Malinovsky what sort of defence preparedness India needed against the Chinese threat. The Indian Navy’s official history ‘Transition to Triumph’ records Malinovsky’s response.

He replied that what India needed was a strong, mobile Army, Navy and Air Force, well equipped with the latest weapons. Instead of a prestigious, overhauled, old British aircraft carrier (which he called the fifth leg of a dog and an easy target), India should go in for a submarine fleet to guard her long coastline.
Malinovsky wasn’t the first geopolitical expert who scratched his head in disbelief at a poor country acquiring a large and expensive carrier while neglecting its defence against hostile neighbours. Six years earlier, when Second World War hero Marshal Georgy Zhukov had visited India, he had disapproved of the Indian Navy’s decision to acquire an aircraft carrier, saying India was only doing it in order to make Britain happy.

Both Malinovsky and Zhukov had made pivotal contributions to Russia’s defence, especially in the Battle of Stalingrad, and as such were masters of warfare. However, on both occasions, Nehruvian India disregarded the advice of the battle-hardened commanders. The consequences of fielding an under-equipped military were visible in the next three wars.

In 1962, when the Chinese waltzed through the Himalayan frontier, the Indian Army was completely unprepared, lacking even winter clothing. INS Vikrant, which had been commissioned the previous year, played no role in the war.

Again, during the 1965 war, while the Indian Air Force flew Second World War Mysteres and Vampires against Pakistan’s latest United States-gifted F-86 Sabres, the Vikrant did not go out to sea at all.

In early 1971, when the political leadership decided to go to war, the Vikrant had been rusting in the harbour for over three years with cracked boilers. The flagship was pressed into service in a semi-fit condition because the Navy feared the Vikrant would be called a “white elephant and naval aviation would be written off”. Fleet Operations Officer G M Hiranandani told the naval brass, “Vikrant has to be seen as being operational, even if we do not fly the aircraft.”

Pakistan, on the other hand, had acknowledged its limitations and, instead of going for expensive surface vessels, decided submarines were a better option. The Pakistan Navy acquired its first sub in 1963 – four years before India did.

Because of the threat posed by Pakistan’s long-range submarine Ghazi, the Indian Navy had to hide the Vikrant in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was only after the Ghazi was sunk that the carrier started operations in the Bay of Bengal.


The case for more carriers ::

There is no doubt that India, which is poised to be the world’s third-largest economy and great power, requires more carriers. In a 2009 report titled ‘China’s Maritime Rights and Navy’, Senior Captain Li Jie, an analyst at the Chinese navy’s strategic think tank Naval Research Institute, declared, “No great power that has become a strong power has achieved this without developing carriers.”

Carriers are an essential element of sea control. According to India’s maritime doctrine, “Sea control is the central concept around which the Indian Navy is structured, and aircraft carriers are decidedly the most substantial contributors to it. This is because they possess ordnance delivery capability of a very high order, often greater than the balance fleet units in the Task Force. This is by means of their substantial integral air power, which provides integral, ubiquitous and enhanced combat power, with extended reach and rapid response capability.”

At a bare minimum, India should have three carriers – one for each seaboard, with a third on standby. India was without a carrier task force for six months in 2016 as its lone flattop INS Vikramaditya was undergoing maintenance.

Having three carriers on call is an ideal situation but is possible only if funds allow. If the Navy is prepared to sacrifice other platforms to divert funds to the second carrier, where does it propose to get money for the support vessels?

For, an aircraft carrier doesn’t travel alone. It usually operates with, and is at the centre of, a composite task force, including multi-purpose destroyers, frigates, submarines and logistics ships. The carrier task force is a self-contained and balanced force, capable of undertaking the entire range of operational tasks.

We do not want a situation like that in 1971 when a limping Vikrant was sent into battle along with only four light frigates (one of which lacked sonar) and a lone submarine to provide anti-submarine protection. In his book No Way But Surrender, Vice Admiral N Krishnan writes, “Even assuming that no operational defects developed, it would still be necessary to withdraw ships from the area of operations for fuelling. The basic problem was that if reasonable anti submarine protection had to be provided to Vikrant and the escort ships had to be in close company for this purpose, then how were 18,000 square miles to be kept under surveillance?”

The Navy had deployed the entire complement of the Vikrant’s aircraft in offensive operations against East Pakistan, leaving none for the carrier’s defence. It was a calculated risk that paid off. Had Pakistan been in possession of another long-range submarine, the story may have been different.


Don’t cannibalise the Navy ::

While aircraft carriers are symbols of prestige, the bits and parts needed to win wars must not be neglected. Sadly, this has happened. For instance, India’s submarine strength currently stands at 15 vessels and is behind Pakistan’s fleet of 17. Even North Korea, which can barely feed its population, has a fleet of 70 subs, which is why the United States carriers keep a safe distance from the Korean peninsula.

Submarines are the true predators of the deep and will allow India to wreak havoc on its adversaries during a war. A fleet of 24 subs (the sanctioned strength), but ideally 50 undersea vessels, can target every task force in the Indian Ocean. During the 1999 Kargil War, it was a submarine, and not a carrier, that was poised to deliver the first blow had India decided to escalate the conflict. INS Sindhurakshak was deployed very close to Karachi and had its torpedoes trained on the harbour installations.

As well as subs, India needs to spend on other less glamorous but critical weapons platforms such as missile boats, frigates, stealth ships, minesweepers, land and ship attack missiles, torpedoes, shore-based radar, close-in warfare weapons, electronic warfare suites and maritime satellites.

Former chief of naval staff Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat writes in Betrayal of the Armed Forces that after the 1971 war complacency had set into the force. For instance, the Indian Navy, which had devastated Karachi harbour with its Russian Styx standoff missiles (outside the adversary’s range) and thereby taken the lead in ship-to-ship standoff missile warfare, yielded space to Pakistan in two critical areas. “(Pakistan) acquired the wherewithal to become capable of standoff air-to-surface missile warfare in which they took a 15-year lead and sub-surface to surface missile standoff missile capability in which they took a 20-year lead, all in a 25-year tenure span,” Admiral Bhagwat explains.


The Navy as a force multiplier ::

India cannot – and should not – match China carrier for carrier, but it should emulate the Chinese strategy of shipbuilding to boost the economy. Admiral Bhagwat points out that the Chinese military and political leadership had declared as a matter of state policy that shipbuilding would be the springboard for China’s industrial development. For India, this is especially advantageous because it is hemmed in to the north and the northeast, and the only strategic space the country has to manoeuvre is in the oceans.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

BY : Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and writes on defence and foreign affairs for Russia Beyond the Headlines, a global media project of Moscow-based Rossiyskaya Gazeta. He is on the advisory board of Europe-based Modern Diplomacy.
Rakesh’s articles on defence and foreign have been quoted extensively by a number of leading think tanks, universities and publications worldwide. He has been cited in books on counter terrorism and society in the global south.

https://swarajyamag.com/defence/ind...rs-but-not-at-the-cost-of-key-strike-elements
This is a propaganda article more than anything else.

The whole narrative is built on the false premise that Indian Aircraft Carrier project comes at the cost of other strike elements. The economy is growing and therefore that 3% of GDP we spend on defense will be more than enough to sustain BOTH, an AC fleet and strike corps.

Let's understand that the Navy is the most strategic arm of any country, it allows for power projection and brings great economic dividends. NO COUNTRY, not even your ally, will want you to have a strong Navy, because it eats into their weapons sales and their influence globally.

First the Chinese tried to use their own media to warn India that it should not try to match their Navy, when that failed, they are buying paid Dhindus to use a mole to do their bidding in the garb of national interest.
 

aditya10r

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This is a propaganda article more than anything else.

The whole narrative is built on the false premise that Indian Aircraft Carrier project comes at the cost of other strike elements. The economy is growing and therefore that 3% of GDP we spend on defense will be more than enough to sustain BOTH, an AC fleet and strike corps.

Let's understand that the Navy is the most strategic arm of any country, it allows for power projection and brings great economic dividends. NO COUNTRY, not even your ally, will want you to have a strong Navy, because it eats into their weapons sales and their influence globally.

First the Chinese tried to use their own media to warn India that it should not try to match their Navy, when that failed, they are buying paid Dhindus to use a mole to do their bidding in the garb of national interest.
Well i believe india needs at least 4 aircraft carriers by 2045 and max upto 6,but there is nothing that can beat a silent undersea fleet of deadly diesel/aip attack subs.................
 

mendosa

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Well i believe india needs at least 4 aircraft carriers by 2045 and max upto 6,but there is nothing that can beat a silent undersea fleet of deadly diesel/aip attack subs.................
Sabh kuch milega!

When has any service chief or any defense committee said that the modernization of one arm is coming at the cost of another arm?

We do need 6 aircraft carriers and whenever we sail a new carrier, it goes without saying that consequent funds are allotted for the entire carrier battle group that goes with it.

I'm no fan of big super carriers though. We need more number of ACs instead of larger ACs. The conflicts of the future are going to be short and swift. A super carrier adds no additional capability to the arsenal other than the ability to carry more planes. In this case, a large number of your fleet stuck on a single carrier will prevent it from being used in a theater which is far away. Instead, if we have 6 ACs, even if they are small, we can assign each to each choke point in the IOR.
 

no smoking

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Ok, so you think that the US will fight India for some petty dollars offered by the middle east ? I am talking about the US because only the US can sustain a war so faraway. You are sorely mistaken.
Well, since these middle east countries have no proper navy to support any war near India, I assume that only war could fight is India come to their countries. Under this circumstance, US is obliged to protect them with her military forces.
 

bipin

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I would love to hear from a navy/defence specialist, who can give an exact number on how many carriers we need.

Following is my analysis based on common knowledge:

Aircraft carriers conventional/nuclear have a life of 30 - 50 years. Nuclear ones need refuelling and overhaul after 20 years usually done midlife of about 2-4 years.

For fleet of 20 (or 19 active) aircraft carriers. You would need to make one every 2 years with each having life of 40 years. Of course this is not taking into account if they are nuclear and need midlife refuelling. This is close to what US navy does.

For a fleet of 10 you need one every 4 years.
For a fleet of 5 you need one every 8 years.

IMO India can have between 5 carrier min and 7 max for near future. Not that we dont need more but at least there is no hurry.

Ship/submarine building is an incredibly slow process. Unlike Air force or Army vessels these are super complex. For e.g. the Ford class supercarrier took 11 years to build weighing 100k long tons. French nuclear powered carrier was built in 5 years but it weighed 40k long tons. INS Vikrant will also take roughly 10 years from start to completion (India's first indigenous).

BUT although these ships may cost billions of USD, the cost when averaged out is quite manageable (Ford supercarrier cost 1 billion USD per year). The high gestation period is what I feel stings the most. Heavier / advanced vessels will take really long time. Cost isnt that much of an issue IMO.

Contrary to anyone who says either A cost is too great (and not to ape China) or B cost is enough without sacrificing other strike elements. I feel like people are missing the point. The real cost is not money but time. When so much time goes in building you really need to start early and build what you need first.

Now coming back to where we stand. We have one carrier currently. Vikrant will be commisioned by 2018. And Vishal is only planned, not started construction which could take upto 8 -10 years to complete. So by 2028 we will have 3 definitely.

India has already indigenized building aircraft carrier, which is the biggest part of the plan. The current speed at which we are making carriers is good for fleet of 4 (1 every 10 years), which to me is not bad and we can get to fleet of 5/6 with relatively modest incsease in funds. Just dont expect it to happen soon, these things will take time.

Bottomline:

This is a propaganda article more than anything else.
I dont think there is a pressing situation that warrants radical changes. We dont have to worry about aircraft carriers. We can, should and will build more. So what should we have on our plate then.

India needs more ASW helicopters and Subs right now.
Damn right. You need 10x as many subs than aircraft carriers, maybe more. There are few problems on this front as compared to carriers:
  1. fleet numbers lesser than other naval powers and many subs ageing
  2. nuclear subs which India has made indigenously just one, is not ready for production in greater numbers.
  3. subs are still imported (scorpenes) / leased (akula) to compensate for indigenous ones which cost a lot.
  4. China has subs loitering in IOR
 

mendosa

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I dont think there is a pressing situation that warrants radical changes.
It's not about "what will I lose if I don't do it, but about what extra will I gain if I do it". It has traditionally been a very Hindu concept to look at war and war spending only as wasteful expenditure on 'conflict' which is made worse by the Hindu aversion to 'conflict'. Where as, in reality, a conflict allows you to press the RESET button and negotiate a better deal for yourself. It yields a disproportionate dividend compared to the same money and effort invested in any other national objective (employment, healthcare, skill development) because a conflict is what allows you to get tangible gains in terms of resources. Once you have the resources you can use it for education and healthcare, no issues.

The pressing issue therefore is not about a potential war scenario but the fact that you own an AC allows you to offer (rent out) your nuclear umbrella to smaller powers in exchange for their natural resources. There are great natural resources in the periphery nations of SE Asia and in Africa, but the only one strong enough to bid on them till now has been US and Europe. When they were the sole bidders, they were able to exploit a better price because the Africans had no one else to use as a bargaining chip. Then came China and India. Now if the US threatens to take their resources for cheap, the Asian powers can use their military clout to make the US behave in a more reasonable manner and that balances the trade imbalance.

ACs give you economic gain even when you are not at war. That is why we hear the term 'net security provider'. You spend 2 Billion on an AC, you get a single oil field in Africa, you will make a 50B profit over the next 20 years from that oil field, while insulating yourself from blackmail from oil producing nations. Your investment has paid off, you made money, you ensured energy security and you created jobs for your local population who works on the oil refinery, and oil distribution inside India.

5 years down the line our first high ticket weapons exports will also start flooding the DefExpos. At that time, you want to present yourself as a strong nation. No one buys weapons for tactical reasons. They only buy from you because it comes with the added benefit of your might. If we are able to reassure nations that people who buy from us will have our security cover, they will be more likely to buy.

That is the pressing need to have ACs. That is the pressing need for India's enemies to stop us from having ACs. They want to be the sole 'security provider- cum - resource extractor' in the world. That is why US, China and even Russia is peddling the narrative through alternate means (distributed blogging networks, forum posts, 'new media' avenues) that Indians must not invest in ACs. Our nukes are less threatening to them than our ACs because the nukes will never be used but the ACs generate revenue the moment they start sailing.
 

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Well, since these middle east countries have no proper navy to support any war near India, I assume that only war could fight is India come to their countries. Under this circumstance, US is obliged to protect them with her military forces.
And so long these countries are under American boot India won't have to wage any war. All India wants is oil at fair prices.

Infact oil revolution in US will force middle East countries to compete among themselves to sell cheaper oil to India.
 

mendosa

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Infact oil revolution in US will force middle East countries to compete among themselves to sell cheaper oil to India.
The US has already preempted that move.

Check the treaty we signed when Obama visited India which makes it obligatory for India to procure a certain % of its energy needs strictly via American Shael gas. So, even if cheaper oil is available, the US has made sure that no one benefits from it at their expense. With a combination of nuclear energy, shael gas, renewable energy, coal based generators, hydroelectric dams, and the introduction of electric vehicles the reliance on oil itself will reduce drastically, plus India has made a tie up with Russia recently and acquired some oil field there and oil has been found off the Myanmar coast, so we will have another source of oil and we are at the last stage of our Thorium reactors.

Bad days ahead for Saudi Arabia. After all, if you are a talent-less medieval civilization whose only contribution to the world is stone pelting and oil, how long is your rein going to last?
 

Adioz

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It's not about "what will I lose if I don't do it, but about what extra will I gain if I do it". It has traditionally been a very Hindu concept to look at war and war spending only as wasteful expenditure on 'conflict' which is made worse by the Hindu aversion to 'conflict'. Where as, in reality, a conflict allows you to press the RESET button and negotiate a better deal for yourself. It yields a disproportionate dividend compared to the same money and effort invested in any other national objective (employment, healthcare, skill development) because a conflict is what allows you to get tangible gains in terms of resources. Once you have the resources you can use it for education and healthcare, no issues.

The pressing issue therefore is not about a potential war scenario but the fact that you own an AC allows you to offer (rent out) your nuclear umbrella to smaller powers in exchange for their natural resources. There are great natural resources in the periphery nations of SE Asia and in Africa, but the only one strong enough to bid on them till now has been US and Europe. When they were the sole bidders, they were able to exploit a better price because the Africans had no one else to use as a bargaining chip. Then came China and India. Now if the US threatens to take their resources for cheap, the Asian powers can use their military clout to make the US behave in a more reasonable manner and that balances the trade imbalance.

ACs give you economic gain even when you are not at war. That is why we hear the term 'net security provider'. You spend 2 Billion on an AC, you get a single oil field in Africa, you will make a 50B profit over the next 20 years from that oil field, while insulating yourself from blackmail from oil producing nations. Your investment has paid off, you made money, you ensured energy security and you created jobs for your local population who works on the oil refinery, and oil distribution inside India.

5 years down the line our first high ticket weapons exports will also start flooding the DefExpos. At that time, you want to present yourself as a strong nation. No one buys weapons for tactical reasons. They only buy from you because it comes with the added benefit of your might. If we are able to reassure nations that people who buy from us will have our security cover, they will be more likely to buy.

That is the pressing need to have ACs. That is the pressing need for India's enemies to stop us from having ACs. They want to be the sole 'security provider- cum - resource extractor' in the world. That is why US, China and even Russia is peddling the narrative through alternate means (distributed blogging networks, forum posts, 'new media' avenues) that Indians must not invest in ACs. Our nukes are less threatening to them than our ACs because the nukes will never be used but the ACs generate revenue the moment they start sailing.
The only problem is a lack of political will power to use Naval coercion. IMHO, only strong leaders like Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi have the gall to engage in military coercion. We have ACs since decades. They have yet to leave our own waters. If China manages to put this new carrier on a tour of the IOR, we would have lost the war of perception in our own backyard. Thankfully, the Chinese are too occupied with USN and SCS to bother.
Point I am trying to make is, our ACs buy us influence if we use them for intimidation. We want to sit at the global high table, yet most of our leaders start spitting out Gandhian virtues of non-violence the minute we have an oppertunity. I fail to see why INS Vikramaditya has only ever visited Sri Lanka, and not Kenya or Indonesia or even Australia or Japan? Why is it not a part of exercises like Malabar? The JMSDF is sending Izumo to IOR this year. Look at the muscles a self-proclaimed soft state is flexing with a ship that has the fraction of the capabilities our flagship has, and in our backyard too (though its not to our detriment).
I am of the opinion that the Navy is planning 3 Vishal class carriers. But these will come when we have the required amount of Naval tonnage invested in escort ships and subs. We will have enough time to work on a good design and get funds ready till 2027. Then the IN will jump in headlong into it, and we will have 5 carriers by 2035. Then in 2036, we will still be having this conversation as to why the world fears one American carrier in the IOR, but not 5 Indian ones. Modi is not going to be a Prime Minister that year. I hope its atleast someone with balls.

Edit: I would absolutely love to be proved wrong. I hope that in the year 2036 we have leaders on Raisina hill that give the Indian Navy the orders to station a CBG permanently in the Horn of Africa for anti-piracy ops :)
 

IndianHawk

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The only problem is a lack of political will power to use Naval coercion. IMHO, only strong leaders like Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi have the gall to engage in military coercion. We have ACs since decades. They have yet to leave our own waters. If China manages to put this new carrier on a tour of the IOR, we would have lost the war of perception in our own backyard. Thankfully, the Chinese are too occupied with USN and SCS to bother.
Point I am trying to make is, our ACs buy us influence if we use them for intimidation. We want to sit at the global high table, yet most of our leaders start spitting out Gandhian virtues of non-violence the minute we have an oppertunity. I fail to see why INS Vikramaditya has only ever visited Sri Lanka, and not Kenya or Indonesia or even Australia or Japan? Why is it not a part of exercises like Malabar? The JMSDF is sending Izumo to IOR this year. Look at the muscles a self-proclaimed soft state is flexing with a ship that has the fraction of the capabilities our flagship has, and in our backyard too (though its not to our detriment).
I am of the opinion that the Navy is planning 3 Vishal class carriers. But these will come when we have the required amount of Naval tonnage invested in escort ships and subs. We will have enough time to work on a good design and get funds ready till 2027. Then the IN will jump in headlong into it, and we will have 5 carriers by 2035. Then in 2036, we will still be having this conversation as to why the world fears one American carrier in the IOR, but not 5 Indian ones. Modi is not going to be a Prime Minister that year. I hope its atleast someone with balls.

Edit: I would absolutely love to be proved wrong. I hope that in the year 2036 we have leaders on Raisina hill that give the Indian Navy the orders to station a CBG permanently in the Horn of Africa for anti-piracy ops :)
While in general I agree with your assessment I must point out certain things 1 . A Chinese Carrier in IOR proves nothing. We can't stop it from travelling unless we are at war.
2. Indian AC for African nations is bit too much of intimidation . Our frigates are more than enough for most of them even our coast guard and opv are very terrifying for them. So an AC would be overkill.
3.our external trade has been a small percentage of our GDP and has not warranted any serious intervention anywhere till now. Now things are changing , we will get assertive if somebody dares to block our path . But honestly other than USA nobody has balls to block trading ships(though Somalian pirates can hijack them!!) And USA has no reason to do so.
5. We surely need more carriers in future , affordability shall not be a problem but we need to be decisive and fast in construction.
6. Chinese AC will only start an armes race soon Japan will come out full fledged carriers and so will Australia Vietnam and others thus ultimately negating any chinese advantage and putting more risks upon china.
 

Kunal Biswas

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You cannot have ASW & Submarine and leave out carrier force, In similar way you cannot leave Carrier force without ASW and submarines in hand ..

Carrier forces is extremely essential for Island outposts such as A&N island chains, If we neglect one part of blue navy everything will fall apart ..

============

My view :

Navy should go for D&E submarines based arihant architecture as this is fastest way to churn out submarines which are mainly for Bay of Bengal and Arabian theater, Or produce more scorpion based subs whichever is most beneficial ..

Navy should replace Jaguar IM with SU-30MKI platform for maritime strike and surveillance duties from shores along with induction of more P8Is ..

Navy should stick with Vikrant class carriers and produce a series of them rather go for a large AC, Keep churning out more ASW corvettes and shivialik class frigates, Hand these project to Private sector for fast and efficent production ..
 

Adioz

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our external trade has been a small percentage of our GDP and has not warranted any serious intervention anywhere till now. Now things are changing , we will get assertive if somebody dares to block our path . But honestly other than USA nobody has balls to block trading ships(though Somalian pirates can hijack them!!) And USA has no reason to do s
You missed my point there. Its not that we needed a reason to engage in military coercion, the lack of which meant that India did not need to send its Navy out. Its that we need to engage in military coercion even when our military assets are at risk so that the world takes the message that we mean business. UK and France get involved in wars that has nothing to do with them. They are feared more, as a result. OTOH, we overtly rely on diplomatic channels even when our own expats are at a risk. Then, we send a few warships that get them back in a specified (by Saudi Arabia) window (Talking about Yemen evacuation). A global power so close to a crisis would actually establish its own military dominance in the region and force the belligerents to stop so that civilians could be rescued. We use our powers like any other country which is not befitting of a great power.


Navy should stick with Vikrant class carriers and produce a series of them rather go for a large AC, Keep churning out more ASW corvettes and shivialik class frigates, Hand these project to Private sector for fast and efficent production ..
IMHO, the Navy plans to do exactly that, but only after testing out a few more concepts. I think, they will take lessons from previous designs (IAC-1, Shivalik, P17A, Kolkatta and Vishakhapatnam classes) and then create superior and maybe modular platforms in great numbers using those lessons. The cost of this exercise is a smaller navy for the next decade. The benefits, our naval buildup will ensure a more modern force than what the Chinese field in 2030s to 2050s.
 

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South India doesn't have any major land based wars to fight. It's main land based battles can be won through state owned genarmeries/paramilitaries as they are more akin to insurgencies than actual wars.

It's more efficient to merge the air force and army into the navy, so that the navy is at the center of the military. I would therefore prefer to use aircraft carriers are portable naval bases which can be moved to areas close to conflict, such as the European side of the Middle East, the South China Sea, or off the coast of Eastern Africa.

A couple of supercarriers would be enough to keep each side of South India patrolled; equipped with aircraft and helicopters primarily aimed at naval warfare but able to combat on land as well, and manned with marines that have somewhat training and land based warfare.

The paramilitary can be used for all land based warfare including certain peacekeeping operations too, especially if they receive equipment similar to the gendarmeries of Europe which tend to be akin to an army.

But I genuinely don't think India should follow a policy of strong military development, especially if the money is being sent overseas, if India can get foriegn countries to do the work for it. It should focus on developing the knowledge/science of India's defense industry so we get to a stage akin to Japan's "nuclear option".

I'd also add that any small aircraft carrier should be equipped ideally with aircraft tuned for naval warfare, but that supercarriers should be thought of more as being like entire bases - something that might be used to supplement a land based war like a military intervention into the Middle East.
 

Adioz

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It's more efficient to merge the air force and army into the navy, so that the navy is at the center of the military.

The Army is the largest arm of our Armed Forces for a reason. Our primary threat perception compass points West, and then North. If we expend all our efforts intervening in the middle east, who is going to protect the Motherland?
 

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