Cmde C Uday Bhaskar (retd), strategic analyst, speaks with Mayank Chhaya on INS Vikrant and India's growing naval power | SAM Conversation
In the hierarchy of aircraft carriers India’s first indigenously designed and built INS Vikrant may be of a modest size but its impact on the country’s maritime defense reach is going to be of considerable consequence.
Thirteen years after the keel for the Vikrant was laid in 2009, it was inducted formally into the Indian Navy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 2.
The INS Vikrant not only fulfills the Indian Navy’s long felt need for a second aircraft carrier but proves the country’s growing expertise in building massive warships. Before the induction of the Vikrant India had only one aircraft carrier, the refurbished Soviet era INS Vikramaditya bought in 2004.
At 43,000 tons, the $3 billion INS Vikrant is the largest warship designed and built by India and opens doors for a next bigger one. During the design and manufacture of the Vikrant, India has ended up gaining expertise in producing special grade steel needed for such warships apart from helping hundreds of other smaller industries.
Although at 100,000 tons America’s behemoth, the USS Gerald Ford is the world’s largest aircraft carrier and China is fast catching up with its next, the 80,000 Fujian, the Vikrant gives India a reasonable naval capacity for now.
To understand the aircraft carrier’s importance, Mayank Chhaya Reports spoke to C Uday Bhaskar, one of India’s most respected defense and strategic experts, president of the thinktank Society for Policy Studies (SPS) and a retired navy commodore.