Q and a With the Cns

 There has been an on-going debate on the need for a third Aircraft Carrier in the Indian Navy, and there are pros and cons. Which major decisive factor suggests the necessity of a third Aircraft Carrier?

 There is no doubt that the Aircraft Carrier is central to the Navy Concept of Operations. To elucidate this point, three factors are relevant.

 Firstly, the Aircraft Carrier should not be seen in isolation. The Carrier is, in fact, part of a task force and provides the crucial element of Air Power, which is imperative and inescapable for effective naval operations at sea. The Carrier, effectively, provides the ‘here and now’ of Air Power crucial to achieve objectives and missions at Sea

 Secondly, let’s remember, that India is an aspirational power, representing 1/5th of humanity. As we strive to emerge as a $5 trillion economy, it is inescapable for our nation to look outwards, further and beyond its borders. Navies operate where national interests lie. As India’s national interests expand further, the Navy would, concomitantly, be required to operate further from its shores. A Blue Water Navy of an aspirational nation cannot remain tethered to the shore. This implies that a Navy which remains dependent on Air Power coming from shore cannot achieve the kind of ‘reach’ and ‘sustenance’ that is commensurate with its national interests

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