The Indian Navy is going full steam ahead to diversify its operations and heighten its combative ability by developing operational and technical infrastructure and increasing manpower. In a conference held in New Delhi, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said that a definitive roadmap for the future is being formulated which will enhance Indian Navy’s preparedness while its force level, including officers and sailors, will increase by 15 per cent in the next five years.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma revealed that with the forthcoming acquisitions and inductions of various warships and other platforms, there will be a hike in manpower in the Indian Navy to enable the operation of these platforms. The Indian Navy’s existing manpower of 50,000 men and 8,000 officers is expected to increase by at least 15 percent by 2016. With the officer training lasting about four years and sailor’s training about two years, Indian Navy is already absorbing more manpower to enable them to operate on new ships and other platforms in the near future. The various naval inductions will include 40 warships and battle vessels on order with both Indian and foreign shipyards including an indigenous aircraft carrier, Kolkata class destroyers, Shivalik class frigates, Corvettes and Scorpene submarines.
Regarding the technical and operational infrastructure, Indian Navy will witness an expansion in this area as well. Indian Navy will be handling various new bases such as the major naval base at Karwar, new forward naval bases, operational turnaround bases and naval air enclaves at Tuticorin, Kamarta, Diglipur, Campbell Bay and Paradip. Naval bases will also open up at other coastal towns of the mainland and island territories of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The plan is to make three forward operating bases in Andaman and Nicober Islands, namely Campbell Bay, Diglipur and Kamorta, two naval air enclaves in Andaman and Karwar and two operational turn around bases in Paradip and Tuticorin. Most of these naval bases are expected to be ready by 2013.
Admiral Nirmal Verma also stated that the Indian Navy’s aviation front will also transform rapidly. He added that the MiG-29 K induction for INS Vikramaditya (refurbished Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier) from Russia had already started. As for the Boeing P-81, its debut flight took place in September and its induction in 2013 is on schedule. Indian Navy has bought eight P-81 maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing in 2009 under a $ 2.1 billion deal.
The Indian Naval Chief also pointed out the latest acquisitions and inductions in the naval force which includes contracts for five offshore patrol vessels, two cadet training ships, eight amphibious landing craft and fast interceptor craft which have all been concluded. The Indian Navy is also getting large ships like two aircraft carriers, nine nuclear and conventional submarines and a large number of destroyers and frigates, which are under constructions at various ship yards in India and abroad. Meanwhile, Indian Navy has also been mandated the role of the net security provider for the island nations in the Indian Ocean region. Indian Navy is also successfully carrying out its bilateral exercises with foreign nations as well as surveillance mission in the Indian Ocean region.