Always reluctant to say it out aloud,India has finally admitted that the Navy will be inducting platforms and building capabilities over the next few years to undertake expeditionary operations and achieve force levels needed for power projection.
The recently approved 12th defence plan,which spells out the acquisitions that the armed forces are planning in the next five years and their financial implication,lays emphasis on the need to develop adequate stand off capability for sea lift and expeditionary operations the ability to undertake military operations far away from homeland.
The most potent platform with the Navy currently for such operations is the INS Jalashwa a retired US Navy landing platform dock. However,by the end of this year,a fresh tender for four new Land Platform Docks (LPD) will be floated by the Navy to upgrade its amphibious capabilities.
The 12th defence plan is based on the objective to build adequate stand off capability for sea lift and expeditionary operations to achieve desired power projection force levels,influence events ashore and undertake military operations other than war.
This implies the Navy is expanding reach and troop-carrying capability that will enable force projection far away from the mainland.
While the plan has not been made public,it seeks to augment the Navys airborne maritime surveillance and strike capability with the induction of shore-based aircraft as well as carrier-based planes.
The Navy is also looking at acquiring force multipliers in the form of additional Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
With the first dedicated military satellite slated to get operational this year,the Navy is aiming for space-based assets that will enable the monitoring of sea traffic and will give it global communication and reconnaissance capabilities as per the plan.
A focus point of the plan will also be to arrest the decline of force levels of conventional submarines that has seen a drastic dip due to delays in acquisitions.
Over the next five years,the Navy will also upgrade its special forces to conduct niche capabilities like conducting maritime intervention operations.
Another focus area in the 12th plan will be augmenting military infrastructure in the two island territories of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar.
While the Navy commissioned its largest naval base in Lakshadweep,named INS Dweeprakshak,on Monday,military facilites will be further expanded in the two island chains to support infrastructure for ships,submarines and aircraft and ports and airbases.