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Within budget constraints, India has to respond to China's Navy expansion: Admiral Karambir Singh 

DNA , Jul 26, 2019

India needs to respond to the growing expansion of Chinese Navy within the limitations of budgetary allocation, said Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh, stressing that India will have to "watch it carefully".

The Navy chief's comments come a day after the Chinese government released a white paper, 'China's National Defence in the New Era', on its military development when compared to India, US, Russia and some other countries.

"It has been said in the past also. Lots of resources have been shifted from other arms to the PLA Navy, in line with their intention to be a global power. We have to watch it carefully and see how we can respond within our budget and the constraints we have," Singh said.

The Navy chief was on the sidelines of a seminar in New Delhi on 'Nation Building Through Shipbuilding'.

China has been expanding its naval operations in the Indian Ocean Region. On low budget allocation for Indian Navy, Singh said, "We require a long time fiscal support to build a Navy. That is the only way we can plan. And this has been my constant refrain."

Singh also gave an update on the Navy's modernisation projects like construction of a third aircraft carrier.

"Our plan is to build a 65,000 tonne carrier possibly with electric propulsion and a catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR), so that if we have three aircraft carriers we can have two operational at any given time," he said. CATOBAR is a system used for launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of a carrier.

Singh further said that India's first indigenous aircraft carrier, Vikrant, has entered its final phase of construction and is likely to begin sea trials next year.

By 2050, Indian Navy aims to have 200 ships and 500 aircraft, he said. The government has approved the induction of 56 new warships and six submarines to boost the Navy's operational capabilities.

Shipbuilding, being a capital-intensive activity, has created a narrative where budgetary allocation for naval shipbuilding is considered by some to be a drain on the economy, he said. "Yet, I would argue that investing in naval shipbuilding is far from a fiscal drain. The first reason for that is the plough-back effect," the Navy chief said. "By conservative estimates, a very large proportion of every rupee spent on the Navy is ploughed back into the Indian economy. To start with, more than 60% of the naval budget is dedicated to capital expenditure. Nearly 70% of this capital budget has been spent on indigenous sourcing, amounting to nearly Rs 66,000 crore in the last five years," he said.

Since the launch of 'Make in India' in 2014, 80% AoNs (Acceptance of Necessity) on cost basis have been awarded to Indian vendors. Of the total 51 ships and submarines on order at various shipyards, 49 are being constructed indigenously. This highlights the considerable levels of plough-back into the economy, he added.

Singh said the projects contribute to strategic outcomes for the nation as well.



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 FICCI-Indian Navy International Seminar on 'Nation Building through Shipbuilding'