Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh has revealed that the navy is also playing a role in the ongoing Sino-India troop confrontation in Ladakh, with its surveillance aircraft obtaining intelligence for the army.
Addressing the media in Delhi on Thursday, on the eve of Navy Day, Singh said the navy was prepared to face the “dual challenge from Covid-19 and Chinese attempts to change the Line of Actual Control”.
He said the navy’s two Sea Guardian drones, taken on lease last month from the US, along with its Boeing P-8I multi-mission aircraft and Heron drones were operating in the border areas of Eastern Ladakh.
Singh was emphatic about the navy requiring a third aircraft carrier, although Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat earlier questioned the need to spend a large sum — estimated at about Rs 50,000 crore, inclusive of the carrier’s air complement — on a single warship. The Indian Air Force (IAF), too, opposes a third aircraft carrier, arguing that it can provide air support more effectively from ashore.
“As a navy, we are absolutely clear about the need for a third carrier. Air operations are absolutely integral to naval operations, so air power at sea is absolutely required,” Singh said.