INS Vikrant may be inducted by 2022-23, says ENC Chief

‘Indigenously built aircraft carrier will make India formidable force in Indo-Pacific region’

Updated - December 04, 2020 09:36 am IST

Published - December 04, 2020 12:31 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

ENC chief Vice-Admiral Atul Kumar Jain speaking at a press meet on the eve of Navy Day in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.

ENC chief Vice-Admiral Atul Kumar Jain speaking at a press meet on the eve of Navy Day in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.

The aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which is being built in the Cochin Shipyard, may be inducted into the Indian Navy some time in 2022-23, said the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Atul Kumar Jain.

The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will be based in ENC and form a formidable force in the Indo-Pacific region with other assets such as the SSN (sub surface nuclear) submarines that are being proposed under Project 75 Alpha, said Vice-Admiral Jain, here on Thursday.

Addressing the press at the annual meet, he said the Indian Navy was on the verge of becoming a formidable blue water force by tuning well with the ‘make in India’ or ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’.

“Today, the IAC is being built in India, which will be followed by Shivalik-class multi-role frigates and Kamorta-class anti-submarine warfare corvettes. Five to 10 years down the line, we visualise a dominant naval force with indigenous capabilities. And for that to happen we need all including PSUs, Navy, MSME and startups to work together as a team,” he said.

He said that bilateral and multilateral naval exercises had been yielding good results and the exercise with Japan, Russia and the USA, had been useful in checking China.

According to him, Australia joining the Malabar exercise this year was a game changer, as now the Indian Navy drones, ships and P8I aircraft could patrol without any hindrance till Sunda Strait.

Expanding economy

The Vice-Admiral said that for the government to achieve the vision of a five trillion economy, the naval might and maritime security needed to be strengthened.

“About 70% of the trade in value and 80% in volume happens through the sea and we have a number of threats including from China and piracy. The role of the Indian Navy is to see that trade is free of any disturbances. We have been providing security 24/7 to our merchant ships in sensitive zones such as the Gulf of Aden, but with the mounting challenge we need more assets and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ will help achieve that,” he said.

Coastal security

The chief of ENC said coastal security after 26/11 had become a priority and the ENC had been playing its role in eastern seaboard by not only maintaining a tight vigil along the long coastline but also stepping up surveillance at all entry and exit routes.

Agreeing that China had greater numbers both in terms of manpower and naval assets, Mr. Jain pointed out that India was way ahead of Pakistan in naval might. “We have recently successfully test fired anti-ship missiles such as Uran and Brahmos. During the 1971 war, our missile corvettes had to go close to Karachi to fire the missiles, now we can fire them from beyond visual range both from ships and underwater platforms,” he said.

Women were slowly being inducted into ships and combat duty. “We already have two women in INS Vikramaditya in the Western Fleet and two in INS Shakti in ENC. Very soon women will also fly naval helicopters,” he said.

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