On the eve of Navy Day, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh held a press conference and touched upon various issues. In a way, this gives us an insight into the understanding and preparation by the Indian Navy towards a changing future scenario. This holds significance as India-China relations have nosedives following the clash in the Himalayas, and the geopolitical repercussion of that has been unfolding in the ocean as well.
The Navy chief has shown no hesitation to take China’s name and specifically state the problem areas and also India’s assertion. “There is a dual challenge from COVID-19 and Chinese attempts to change the Line of Actual Control. The Navy is prepared to face both these challenges,” he categorically said. He also stated that the Navy is ready with Standard Operating Procedure to tackle the situation in case of any infringement by the Chinese vessels.
The Navy chief expanded on the Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean. He noted that before 2008 the Chinese presence was less in the region. He said that at present three Chinese warships are in the Indian Ocean region. The Chinese have been maintaining three ships since 2008 for anti-piracy patrols.
How the Navy is Ramping Up Capability
The Navy chief said that acquisition of 30 Predator drones for the three services is on, and these drones would be much more capable in assisting the naval duties. He also informed the media that the Indian Navy is procuring Smash-2000 rifles as anti-drone equipment to protect against attacking drones.
The Navy has deployed the P-8I aircraft at various locations on the requirement of Army and Indian Air Force. In addition, the media got to know that the Navy has deployed the Heron surveillance drones on the northern borders.
“2 Predator drones taken on lease are helping us to fulfil the capability gap in our surveillance. 24hrs of surveillance capability is helping us to get sustained surveillance capability: If Army and IAF feel a requirement for them in the northeast, we can consider it,” the Navy chief said.
In further building Navy’s capability, the chief said that “41 of the 43 warships and submarines to be built for the navy in future are all to be made in India including the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier.”