April 26, 2017
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Power projection
Modernising submarine fleet With both its conventional as well as nuclear powered submarine production lines well on stream India will have to decide what percentage of the entire Indian Navy fleet will have to be either diesel electric/air-independent propulsion and which types of surface vessels will have to be converted to nuclear propulsion. This factor will dictate the extent of its regional footprint and hence its power-projection capability. The true worth of the Indian Navy will be judged by how well it is able to police the Strait of Hormuz/Suez Canal waterways in the west to the Chinese maritime seaboard in the Pacific Ocean in the east 24x7, 365 days. A naval presence at such distances will have to depend largely on nuclear propulsion if it is to be effective both as a deterrent as well as an in situ operational group. The need to call at local ports for bunkering facilities will have to be eliminated if one is to be truly effective. ‘Showing the flag’ operations will need to be knitted into the whole skein of deployment patterns on a sector wise basis-the more sensitive sectors requiring longer ‘on station’ presence fully supported by organic depot ships for victualing, medical evacuation and housekeeping/maintenance requirements. Nuclear capability The commissioning of the nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed INS Arihant has completed the third leg of an indigenous triad of nuclear weapons delivery platforms, the others be
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