NEW DELHI — Addressing the top commanders of the Indian Navy on Tuesday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced that additional naval bases and air stations are required to extend the Navy’s reach.
“Antony said the construction of additional bases and naval air stations in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands is necessary to further extend our operational reach,” said a Defence Ministry statement.
India is concerned about the growing Chinese maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, said an Indian Navy official, adding that the Navy will be strengthened with additional submarines, surveillance helicopters and amphibious vessels.
The Indian Navy, he said, will have a new image in the next 10 to 15 years with “long legs” and a force of 150 warships and more than 500 aircraft.
China has already announced that it is planning to deploy at least three aircraft carriers by 2016 in the Indian Ocean. Indian Navy plans to have three aircraft carriers by 2017 are behind because a homegrown carrier is delayed by three years and the Russian-made Admiral Gorshkov carrier has yet to arrive, nearly four years behind schedule.
Antony also called on the Navy and Coast Guard commanders at the conference to implement the Coastal Security Plan, which includes linking the Navy and the Coast Guard operations rooms on a real-time basis.
India’s Coastal Security Network, proposed to be operational this year, would include a chain of static radar and electro-optic sensors at 84 remote sites along the coastline, including the island territories, to detect movement of suspicious vessels.
The placement of the coastal radars is part of India’s plans to substantially bolster the Coast Guard with additional personnel and assets.