Indian Navy plans to take up aggressive acquisition programmes in aviation including induction of fighter planes and multi-role helicopters for its fleet, its Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma has said.
"We are acquiring our ships, aircraft and submarines in accordance with the Navy's current Maritime Capability Perspective Plan. There are presently 40 ships and submarines on order," Verma said.
He said in addition, Navy has aggressive acquisition programmes in aviation including induction of MIG 29K, the acquisition of Boeing P8I MPA aircraft, additional Kamov 31 helicopters and new multi-role helicopters.
"We would also by then have our indigenous strategic submarine force fully operationalised," the chief of Naval staff said in an interview to recently published 'Manas Defence Year Book'.
"The linking of all our platforms through ongoing efforts in data linking will realise the creation of a truly network centric force that is tomorrow ready. In sum by 2020, I see a modern and powerful Navy with a large indigenous component, manned by a highly tech-savvy manpower ready to meet the transformational changes," Verma said.
To a question on expanding reach of Chinese Navy in Indian Ocean, he said the force views it with respect and not in confrontational terms.
"We appreciate that the economy of China, like that of India, is highly growth-oriented and, consequently, highly dependent upon energy. Thus, to sustain her economic growth, China — like India — must rely increasingly upon external sources of energy and raw materials.
"The principal sources of supply for both countries, lie either in the Indian Ocean, or (they) must travel across the Indian Ocean... Indian Navy views the PLA (People's Liberation Army) Navy with respect and does not see it in confrontational terms," he said.
Verma said as for the expanding reach of the PLA Navy impacting India's security, "we must remember every nation has the right to establish friendly and beneficial relations with others, in accordance with its own national interests.
"We have confidence in our own national and maritime capabilities not to feel threatened by any country's legitimate relations with another," he said adding that the Navy is constantly working at capability enhancement and capacity building in pursuance of the country's strategic requirements and doctrinal necessities.