Different view on India’s new carrier IAC-2

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Source: The post different view on India’s new carrier IAC-2 has been created, based on the article “Why India needs a third aircraft carrier” published in “The Hindu” on 11th June 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3- Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Context: The article discusses the Indian Navy’s progress towards acquiring a third aircraft carrier. Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) will soon start constructing the Vikrant-class IAC-2. This new carrier aims to maintain naval capabilities and avoid losing shipbuilding expertise.

For detailed information on Significance of aircraft carrier read this article here

Why India needs new aircraft carrier?

  1. Strategic Deployment: Fulfill the Navy’s requirement for one carrier for each seaboard and one in reserve, supporting INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant.
  2. Avoid High Costs of Skill Revival: Learn from the costly revival of submarine-building expertise at Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders after a 10-year gap (1995- 2025), which was necessary due to the unresolved corruption scandal with German submarines.
  3. Counter A2/AD Threats: Address the increasing anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities developed by China and Pakistan, which pose significant threats to carrier operations.
  4. Indigenisation of Shipbuilding: The IAC-2 will have more local content and upgrades compared to IAC-1 Vikrant, promoting self-reliance and strengthening India’s domestic shipbuilding industry.

What are the different views on India’s new aircraft carrier?

  1. High-Cost Concern: The new carrier’s estimated cost of around $5-6 billion is seen as a major financial burden.
  2. Operational Efficacy: The carrier’s operational effectiveness is questioned due to the advanced anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities of China and Pakistan.
  3. Alternative Strategies: The Navy is divided on whether to pursue a ‘sea denial’ strategy using submarines or a ‘sea control’ approach with carrier battle groups. Submarines are seen as cheaper and less vulnerable.
  4. Resource Allocation: Critics argue that resources should instead address shortages in critical areas like submarines, corvettes, mine-sweepers, destroyers, frigates, naval utility helicopters, UAVs, and other ordnance.
  5. Air Force Perspective: The Indian Air Force (IAF) believes land-based fighters like the Jaguar IM and Su-30MKI, equipped with advanced maritime strike capabilities, offer a more cost-effective and secure solution than carriers.

Question for practice:

Discuss the rationale behind India’s decision to build a new aircraft carrier, Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-2 (IAC-2).

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