The Indian Navy is taking a huge step with a big-ticket proposal for procuring its third aircraft carrier which is expected to cost around Rs 1.6 lakh crore along with the additional component of 57 fighter jets.
The Indian Navy already has one operational aircraft carrier in the INS Vikramaditya while another one, INS Vikrant, is under construction at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and is expected to join service in the next few years.
According to the government “the defence ministry in near future which will cost around Rs 1.6 lakh crore at the approval stage itself along with the fighter plane component and the actual costs will go higher further as the programme moves ahead”.
The Navy plans to acquire 57 twin-engine fighter planes for the third aircraft carrier for which American F-18 and French Dassault Rafale are in the race. According to the sources “If one goes by the cost of the 36 Rafales acquired for the Air Force, the 57 planes are not going to cost us less than Rs 90,000-95,000 crore.”
Citing the Chinese threat, the Indian Navy had been planning for building the third nuclear-powered aircraft carrier using Western technology and systems which is going to be far more expensive in comparison with the existing systems.
According to experts, China’s strategic power forecast in the Indian Ocean has made it necessary for India to build a stronger navy. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has been expanding at a lightning pace commissioning its third aircraft carrier in ten years recently and working on the fourth one.
It all began with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which China has developed as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) programme. The Chinese navy has expanded control to ports in Myanmar, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.