3. What are India’s key priorities towards creating blue water navy capabilities? What have been the recent achievements on this front? Examine. (15 Marks)
ब्लू वाटर नेवी क्षमताएं बनाने की दिशा में भारत की प्रमुख प्राथमिकताएं क्या हैं? इस मोर्चे पर हाल की उपलब्धियां क्या रही हैं? जांच करें।
Candidates need to mention India’s key priorities towards creating blue water navy capabilities and then examine the recent achievements on this front.
A blue-water navy allows a country to project power far from the home country and usually includes one or more aircraft carriers. Indian Navy has the designation of “leading power projection capability” in the region” and is, therefore, a blue water navy. India initially outlined its intentions of developing blue-water capabilities under the 2007 Maritime Capabilities Perspective Plan, with the navy’s priority being the projection of “power in India’s area of strategic interest”, the Indian Ocean Region.
India’s key priorities towards creating blue water navy capabilities
- Supremacy of Navy stands true even in the 21st Century. If India has to become a super power again in 21st Century, it will have to build a blue water Navy capable of dominating the Indo-Pacific Region.
- India needs a modern Navy to protect its maritime interests and shoulder additional responsibilities, particularly in the current geo-political and security situation that prevails in the Indo-Pacific Ocean Region.
- The aim of the expansion plan of Indian Navy is to govern the two oceans, The Indian Ocean as well as the Pacific.
- Navies are not built in a day, they require consistent efforts and thus, the Indian Navy now needs to transform from a ‘Buyer’s navy into a Builders Navy’.
- One of the major challenges for Indian forces, of course, remains the budgetary support.
- The reasons for this build up are several and could be summarised as under-
- First, national prestige has become an important lever for the Indian Navy. The need to have a powerful three-dimensional long-range navy to reflect a Great Power status.
- Second, the ability of the indigenous shipbuilding industry to not only provide more but also “push” for more (orders).
- Third, to have a credible “second strike” nuclear deterrent, as a naval retaliatory action is considered least vulnerable and most effective.
- An Indian ambition to establish a strong presence in the Indian Ocean region amidst the changing geopolitical maritime environment has led to a wish list of procurement by the Indian Navy.
The recent achievements on this front
- Some baby steps have been taken by Indian Navy towards Blue Waters, however, the national focus on blue waters has to go beyond rhetoric and start action on ground.
- As part of modernization, induction of maritime missile technology further enhances the Indian Navy’s potency.
- The 300 km BrahMos medium range cruise missile and the 350 km Dhanush (Prithvi II adapted) ballistic missile are noteworthy additions to India’s armoury.
- The Dhanush ballistic missile is capable of being launched from both ‘on water’ as well as ‘under water’ assets.
- Also equally important is the successful testing and impending installation of 1500 km range Sagarika ‘Oceanic’ missile on the INS Arihant.
- Add to this India’s successful testing of the 3500 km range Agni III ballistic missile (with work underway for a submarine launched version) and it puts both Pakistan and China even more firmly within India’s nuclear sites.
- Recently, India has quietly commissioned its secretive nuclear missile tracking vessel called the VC 11184, entering a select league of nations with the capability to monitor missile launches at long distances, enhancing the testing programme and adding a crucial part to a national missile defence system.
- The underwater capabilities of India need greater focus as the submarine fleet is aging (1980 vintage).
- Acquiring of third Russian Akula class nuclear powered attack submarine will enhance the underwater capability to some extent.
Indian Navy is the key instrument of power for India as emerging Super Power. A strong and professional blue water Navy can contribute to power projection, within the Indo-Pacific Region and the world. The Indian Navy with its current professionalism and future plans has the potential to enhance Indian image as a super power, in the future. The Indian Navy has created a niche for itself by exhibiting its professionalism and contributions towards nation building.