Homeindia News

    INS Vikrant boosts Indian Navy's firepower but Chinese navy still ahead in numbers

    INS Vikrant boosts Indian Navy's firepower but Chinese navy still ahead in numbers

    INS Vikrant boosts Indian Navy's firepower but Chinese navy still ahead in numbers
    Read Time
    4 Min(s) Read
    Profile image

    By Akriti Anand   IST (Updated)


    INS Vikrant is the largest indigenous warship built by India and expected to "bolster India's position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and its quest for a blue water navy". How will it boost India's naval power, especially against rival China?

    As Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned the Indian Navy Ship (INS) Vikrant on Friday, the key question on everyone's mind is: How much firepower does it add to the Indian Navy against the Chinese navy?
    For starters, the induction of India's first indigenous aircraft carrier means the navy now has two aircraft carriers, including INS Vikramaditya in service boosting the country's maritime defence. Compared to the Indian Navy, China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has three aircraft carriers. India now has two aircraft carriers—INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya. China has three—Fujian, Shandong and Liaoning.
    India has now joined the "select group of nations" which have the capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier, say experts.
    "There are only 14 countries in the world which have at least one aircraft carrier and only six countries in the world have the capacity and the capability to build an aircraft carrier. India is one of these six," Lt Col JS Sodhi. a Defence and Strategic Affairs analyst told CNBC-TV18.com.
    INS Vikrant's importance for India
    INS Vikrant "would bolster India's position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and its quest for a blue water Navy", the government had said in July this year in a press release.
    A blue water Navy "operates deep into the oceans", Sodhi added.
    This comes at a time when the ties between the two nations are under stress owing to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army's (PLA) movements around India's borders as well as Chinese PLAN's movement in and around the Indian Ocean.
    With INS Vikrant's entry, India can deploy an aircraft carrier each on the eastern and western seaboard and expand its maritime presence.
    "We will have two aircraft carriers. Because of that, India, having an eastern and western coast and vast oceans on both sides, will be able to utilise one carrier on each seaboard... we'll be able to cover the primary areas of maritime interest," Captain Kamlesh Agnihotri (Retd.), a senior fellow at the National Maritime Foundation (NMF) told CNBC-TV18.com.
    The need for an aircraft carrier
    An aircraft carrier has great operational range, carrying fighter aircraft which are important in any battle to project power and control the sea.
    NMF's Agnihotri said, "projecting powers and sea control is the primary purpose of aircraft carriers," while adding, "the aircraft carrier are floating airfields."
    (Credit: PIB) (Credit: PIB)
    "The aircraft carrier adds to the maritime power of the country. It is the most potent weapon of a navy because it has the capacity to operate at a very large distance. It also acts as an air base at the time of conflict," Sodhi said.
    Delivery of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (Iac) 'Vikrant' (Image: PIB) Delivery of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (Iac) 'Vikrant' (Image: PIB)
    India Vs China maritime power
    While INS Vikrant adds to the Indian Navy's firepower, Chinese navy or PLAN is ahead in the number of warships and overall seapower. According to the World Directory of Modern Military Warships (2022), China ranks second on the Global Naval Powers Ranking 2022 after the United States — the true global blue water navy, while India ranks seventh.
    "Comparing India's carrier INS Vikrant to Fujian is not correct," said Agnihotri. This is because, while INS Vikrant has a ski-jump kind of take-off mechanism, the Chinese Fujian has a catapult type of take-off mechanism.
    "With catapult, you are able to launch heavier aircraft carrying more payloads, and more fuels for longer range," he said.  It is better to compare Vikrant with Shandong, the second aircraft carrier China owns.
    Besides, aircraft carriers, India has INS Arihant, an indigenously built
    nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).
    Can India counter Chinese navy incursions?
    NMF's Agnihotri said, "our strong carrier-based force will be able to counter the challenges." Sodhi, however, said that  "India is fast emerging as great naval power but China has an edge."
    "We have picked up speed in the defence manufacturing indigenously. We are also slowly matching up," Sodhi added.
    Earlier, news agency ANI quoted Southern Naval Command (SNC) Chief Vice admiral MA Hampiholi as saying that the Indian Navy needs three aircraft carriers to deter Chinese presence in Indian Ocean Region.
    Check out our in-depth Market Coverage, Business News & get real-time Stock Market Updates on CNBC-TV18. Also, Watch our channels CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC Bajar Live on-the-go!
    arrow down

      Most Read

      Market Movers

      View All