Sea Control or Sea Denial: Does India Really Need Another Aircraft Carrier?
There has been an everlasting debate over the past 70 years on sea denial and sea control. Although it is partially ideological, it is highly relevant to a country with limited resources to spare for defence procurements
With much pomp and pageantry, the Indian Navy commissioned INS Vikrant, its first home-built aircraft carrier, last week. With this, India joins the elite club of the world’s naval powers with more than one aircraft/helicopter carrier. The vessel — 262m (860ft) long and almost 60m (197ft) tall — can house up to 30 fighter planes and helicopters. With 14 decks, the ship has over 2,300 compartments and can accommodate 1,700 personnel. It has a top speed of around 28 knots (more than 50 km per hour) and a cruising speed of 18 knots, with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.
Most importantly, with over 76% of the material and equipment on board being indigenous — including 21,500 tonnes of special grade steel — the vessel highlights the slow but steady progress made by the Indian defence industry in achieving the much-needed defence indigenisation.