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India Bolsters Naval Strength with $5 Billion Aircraft Carrier to Counter China

India is set to reinforce its naval capabilities with the addition of a $5 billion aircraft carrier, signaling its strategic response to China’s expanding naval influence in the Indian Ocean region. The Defense Acquisition Council, headed by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, is poised to approve the acquisition of India’s second indigenous aircraft carrier.

Key Details

1. Strategic Investment

  • The Defense Acquisition Council is expected to greenlight the acquisition of a second indigenous aircraft carrier, costing nearly 400 billion rupees ($4.8 billion).
  • The move is aimed at enhancing India’s naval prowess and countering China’s growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

2. Technical Specifications

  • The new aircraft carrier is designed to accommodate a fleet of at least 28 fighter jets and helicopters, with a displacement of 45,000 tons.
  • Notably, the carrier will be equipped with French Rafale jets, showcasing India’s commitment to advanced military technology.

3. Show of Strength

  • The addition of a second aircraft carrier contributes to the formation of a three-carrier battle group, showcasing the Indian navy’s formidable presence in the Indian Ocean.
  • This move is strategically significant as China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has been actively expanding its footprint in the region.

4. Geopolitical Influence

  • An enlarged fleet enables India to exert influence in the seas by maintaining a continuous presence in distant locations, bolstering its geopolitical standing.
  • The three-carrier battle group serves as a deterrent and reinforces India’s commitment to safeguarding its maritime interests.

5. Militarization of Indian Ocean

  • The Indian Ocean is witnessing heightened militarization, with approximately 125 naval vessels from various nations, including the US, France, and Japan.
  • India’s proactive approach aligns with its goal to have 160 warships by 2030 and 175 by 2035, costing an estimated 2 trillion rupees.

6. Strategic Infrastructure Upgrades

  • India has invested in upgrading runway facilities at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, allowing night landings and enhancing surveillance capabilities.
  • This strategic move aims to monitor key water straits in the southern Indian Ocean, such as Malacca, Sunda, and Lombok.

Questions Related to Exams

Q: Why is India investing $5 billion in a new aircraft carrier?

A: India is investing in a new aircraft carrier to strengthen its naval capabilities and counter China’s expanding presence in the Indian Ocean. The strategic move aims to enhance maritime security and position India as a significant player in the evolving geopolitical landscape.

Q: What are the key features of the new aircraft carrier?

A: The new aircraft carrier is designed to accommodate a substantial air wing, capable of hosting at least 28 fighter jets and helicopters. With a displacement of 45,000 tons, it represents a significant expansion in size and capabilities for the Indian Navy.

Q: Why is India opting for French Rafale jets for the new carrier?

A: India’s decision to equip the new carrier with French Rafale jets underscores its commitment to leveraging advanced technology for naval operations. The choice reflects a strategic partnership with France and a focus on employing cutting-edge capabilities in its naval fleet.

Q: How does the addition of the new carrier contribute to India’s naval strength in the Indian Ocean?

A: The new aircraft carrier positions India to form a formidable three-carrier battle group, projecting strength in the Indian Ocean. This strategic move allows India to exert influence across the region continuously, especially as China’s naval presence in the Indian Ocean grows.

Q: What is India’s long-term naval strategy amid heightened regional competition?

A: India envisions a robust naval force with plans to possess 160 warships by 2030 and 175 by 2035, requiring a substantial investment of 2 trillion rupees. This long-term strategy aligns with India’s commitment to modernize its naval capabilities and respond to the intensifying maritime competition in the region.

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