The Indian Navy is seeking a third aircraft carrier and two new fighter squadrons to counter Chinese threat in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). In recent months, Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region has increased and the Indian Navy believes that a third aircraft carrier will help India contain China.
As per reports from the Times of India, the Indian Navy remains keen to push for a third aircraft carrier and two new fighter squadrons to counter China’s increasing footprint in the IOR. The delivery of India’s second aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Navy is expected to push for a grant of ‘’acceptance of necessity’’(AoN) for the third carrier, the 65,000-tonne IAC-II (INS Vishal). Experts at EurAsian Times believe that the grant may actually pass this time since the government is fast-tracking pending defence projects amidst soaring tensions with neighbours.
To balance the cost of the third carrier, the Navy has also trimmed the number of fighter jets it requested to 36 (two squadrons) from 57. Since indigenous jets won’t be ready till 2032, the deal for fighter jets might include the like of Rafale’s, Grippen’s and F/A-18s and MiG-29Ks.