CNS an­swered to SP’s on Navy Day press con­fer­ence

SP's NavalForces - - COVER STORY - PHO­TO­GRAPH: DRDO

SPÕs Naval Forces (SPÕs): Over the past one year, how would you like to rate the progress of mar­itime ca­pa­bil­ity build-up of the sur­face com­bat­ants of the In­dian Navy, in­clud­ing the air­craft car­ri­ers, as also the projects un­der con­struc­tion/ devel­op­ment?

Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS): The year 2016 wit­nessed the in­duc­tion of a num­ber of state-of-the-art plat­forms such as the guided mis­sile de­stroyer, INS Chen­nai and anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare corvette, INS Kad­matt, along with other plat­forms like the wa­ter jet fast at­tack craft, INS Ti­hayu and fast in­ter­cep­tor craft for coastal se­cu­rity, among many oth­ers. Fur­ther, the first of the eight land­ing craft util­ity (LCU) Mk IV ships, L-51 has been de­liv­ered. In ad­di­tion, the sec­ond ship of the P-15B class guided mis­sile de­stroy­ers Mor­mu­gao was also launched this year. De­liv­ery of MiG29K, P-8I and Hawk trainer air­craft, con­tract con­clu­sion for four P-8I air­craft and midlife up­grade of Kamov 28, would pro­vide a fil­lip to the In­dian Navy’s Avi­a­tion Arm. The first Pro­ject 75 sub­ma­rine Kal­vari is un­der­go­ing ex­ten­sive tri­als and her in­duc­tion would be another ma­jor mile­stone for our ship­build­ing pro­gramme. So as you see our projects are all mov­ing along at a good pace as per the blue­print laid down in our Mar­itime Ca­pa­bil­ity Per­spec­tive Plan. SPÕs: As per avail­able re­ports, the com­mand of the Tri-Ser­vice An­daman and Ni­co­bar Com­mand will now per­ma­nently rest with a naval Com­man­der-in-Chief. What are the plans to aug­ment se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, in­fra­struc­ture and fa­cil­i­ties and mar­itime force lev­els of the Com­mand? CNS: The An­daman and Ni­co­bar Com­mand (ANC) have ma­tured as a Tri-Ser­vices Com­mand and are built on the ed­i­fice of joint­man­ship. Ef­fec­tive syn­ergy is be­ing main­tained be­tween the three Ser­vices and plans are afoot to fur­ther strengthen the Com­mand with ap­pro­pri­ate mar­itime as­sets and also augmentation of in­fra­struc­ture to in­crease over­all se­cu­rity.

Mea­sures ini­ti­ated in­clude po­si­tion­ing of an all-weather mis­sile armed, heli­copter ca­pa­ble ship at ANC. The first ship of the LCU pro­ject un­der con­struc­tion at the SPÕs Naval Forces (SPÕs): You spoke about the pos­i­tive mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment, a very pleas­ing ter­mi­nol­ogy. How does the Navy en­sure, which all steps, to guar­an­tee that the mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment re­mains very pos­i­tive? Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS): As far as the pos­i­tive mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment goes, In­dia be­ing the largest coun­try in the In­dian Ocean re­gion (IOR), and In­dian Navy be­ing the largest navy in the IOR, we work with like-minded na­tions and the navies to cre­ate this en­vi­ron­ment. We sup­port ca­pa­bil­ity build­ing and ca­pac­ity as­sess­ment in the form of pro­vid­ing train­ing to a very large num­ber of coun­tries within the IOR. Over a thou­sand of­fi­cers and sailors of IOR na­tions and coun­tries train with us. We have pro­vided and we go and pa­trol the ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone (EEZ) of is­land na­tions, we ex­er­cise to­gether with our mar­itime neigh­bours. I have just come back from ‘The Galle Di­a­logue’ where we had the dis­cus­sions that all these ini­tia­tives make a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment. We have re­solved our bound­ary dis­pute with Bangladesh. We co­or­di­nate our pa­trol in the Gulf of Aden along with Ja­pan, China and South Korea, so all this put to­gether makes a pos­i­tive mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment. SPÕs: US-2 was sup­posed to be signed dur­ing the Prime Min­is­ter ModiÕs visit to Ja­pan, but some­how it was de­layed. What num­bers are we look­ing for and what is the progress on the deal? CNS: The num­ber that we are look­ing at present is six as of now. As far as sig­na­ture of the deal, it was mere spec­u­la­tion by the me­dia only; it was not on the agenda of the Prime Min­is­ter dur­ing his visit to Ja­pan. SPÕs: The pri­vate sec­tor en­gage­ment like Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Re­liance De­fence and En­gi­neer­ing Lim­ited (RDEL) are com­pet­ing for the Land­ing Plat­form Docks (LPD) pro­gramme. Can you elab­o­rate on the sta­tus and when the win­ner is likely to be an­nounced? CNS: The tech­ni­cal eval­u­a­tion of the bids has been done and both L&T and Re­liance have qual­i­fied in the tech­ni­cal eval­u­a­tion and the com­mer­cial bids are ex­pected to be opened shortly. SPÕs: What has been the rea­son be­hind LCA Navy not meet­ing the QR of In­dian Navy? CNS: LCA with its present en­gine is too heavy, hence not suit­able for op­er­at­ing from a car­rier. It does not meet the thrust and weight ra­tio re­quire­ment to be able to take off with the full weapon load.

Gar­den Reach Ship­builders and En­gi­neers Lim­ited will be com­mis­sioned shortly and seven more of these will fol­low. In ad­di­tion, plans are also un­der­way to aug­ment the force level of ships, air­craft, he­li­copters and un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles at ANC.

In­fra­struc­ture projects in­clud­ing con­struc­tion of ad­di­tional jet­ties, tech­ni­cal sup­port fa­cil­i­ties and con­struc­tion of an ad­di­tional float­ing dry dock are be­ing pro­gressed. Op­er­a­tional Turn Round (OTR) bases at Diglipur, Camp­bell Bay and Kamorta are also be­ing pro­gressed to have ad­e­quate fa­cil­i­ties for ships to op­er­ate from the is­lands. Sim­i­larly, the run­ways at Shibpur and INS Baazat Camp­bell Bay are be­ing ex­tended to fa­cil­i­tate op­er­a­tion of all air­craft in our in­ven­tory. SPÕs: Mar­itime ca­pa­bil­ity build-up in the seg­ment of sub-sur­face fleet has sourly lagged be­hind, in­clud­ing the com­pli­ca­tions re­lat­ing to pro­cure­ment of tor­pe­does for the on­go­ing Scor­pene pro­ject and in­or­di­nate de­lays in the ac­qui­si­tion process for the con­ven­tional sub­marines un­der Pro­ject 75(I). What are the mea­sures con­ceived to bridge the ca­pa­bil­ity gaps?

CNS: wAc­cord­ingly, as en­vis­aged in the 30-year sub­ma­rine build­ing plan, con­struc­tion of six P-75 sub­marines at the Mazagon Dock Lim­ited (MDL) in Mum­bai is in progress. Whilst there have been de­lays due to un­fore­seen de­vel­op­ments, we have taken mit­i­gat­ing steps to en­sure that our de­sired ca­pa­bil­ity is not com­pro­mised. The P-75(I) pro­ject is be­ing ac­tively pur­sued. We are hope­ful of an early fi­nal­i­sa­tion of Strate­gic Part­ner­ship Model which would en­able us to progress the case. You would also be aware of the Medium Re­fitcum-Life Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme for our sub­marines which has been ap­proved by the gov­ern­ment. This has been specif­i­cally done to bridge the gap and en­sure that our tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal edge is re­tained. As re­gards heavyweight tor­pe­does (HWT), the Navy is await­ing pro­mul­ga­tion of the fi­nalised guide­lines on de­bar­ment by the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) for pro­gress­ing pro­cure­ment. SPÕs: There are re­ports to sug­gest that the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil has

ap­proved in­dige­nous devel­op­ment of ad­di­tional SSBN and SSN plat­forms. Would you like to of­fer com­ments on the ap­proved plans? CNS: Con­struc­tion/ac­qui­si­tion of nu­clear pow­ered bal­lis­tic at­tack sub­marines (SSBNs) is un­der the purview of Nu­clear Com­mand Au­thor­ity and no spe­cific data is avail­able for the same. As re­gards nu­clear pow­ered at­tack sub­marines (SSNs), the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity ap­proved the con­struc­tion of six SSNs in Jan­uary2015 and the same would be con­structed as per planned sched­ules. SPÕs: What is the progress made by the Joint Work­ing Group on Air­craft Car­rier Tech­nol­ogy Co­op­er­a­tion as a sub­set of the larger Indo-US De­fence Tech­nol­ogy and Trade Ini­tia­tive (DTTI)?

CNS: As the read­ers would be aware that the Joint Work­ing Group on Air­craft Car­rier Tech­nol­ogy Co­op­er­a­tion (JWGACTC) was formed in Fe­bru­ary 2015 un­der the Indo-US DTTI frame­work. The Joint Work­ing Group (JWG) has emerged as an ef­fec­tive tool for ex­change of in­for­ma­tion in the niche field of air­craft car­rier tech­nol­ogy. The in­for­ma­tion shared un­der its aus­pices has po­ten­tial to ben­e­fit the In­dian Navy in the in­dige­nous air­craft car­rier pro­gramme. The fo­rum has en­abled the In­dian Navy to ex­change views on Air­craft Launch and Re­cov­ery Equip­ment such as cat­a­pult, Elec­tro­mag­netic Air­craft Launch Sys­tem ( EMALS) and Air­craft Ar­rest­ing Gear (AAG). The dis­cus­sions on air­craft car­rier ac­cep­tance tri­als are par­tic­u­larly

ben­e­fi­cial con­sid­er­ing that the In­dian Navy would be un­der­tak­ing tri­als of IAC-1 in 2017-18, the sign­ing of In­for­ma­tion Ex­change An­nex (IEA) in June this year promises to be a pow­er­ful en­abling tool to­wards shar­ing of in­for­ma­tion in the field of air­craft car­rier tech­nol­ogy. SPÕs: There are crit­i­cal voids in the naval avi­a­tion as­sets, espe­cially the naval multi-role he­li­copters, naval util­ity he­li­copters, fixed-wing air­borne early warn­ing, am­phibi­ous air­craft, naval ship-borne un­manned sys­tems, etc. Would you like to de­scribe the mea­sures ini­ti­ated to fill the void in a rea­son­able time frame?

CNS: The In­dian Navy con­tin­ues to progress sev­eral pro­cure­ment cases re­lated to avi­a­tion as­sets. We are presently pro­gress­ing cases for Dorniers, ALH, Chetaks and MRH he­li­copters. All these projects are at ad­vanced stages in the ac­qui­si­tion process which are likely to be con­cluded shortly. You would be aware of the de­ci­sion to pro­cure four ad­di­tional P-8Is and con­clu­sion of con­tract for midlife up­grade of Kamov 28 he­li­copters. Whilst there have been some de­lays, as you can see steps have al­ready been taken to en­sure that voids are ad­dressed ex­pe­di­tiously. SPÕs: Con­se­quent upon in­creas­ing com­plex­ity in the mar­itime se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment in the In­dian Ocean re­gion and the Indo-Pa­cific, how well is In­dian Navy pre­pared to face the dy­namic chal­lenges? CNS: The In­dian Navy has been at the fore­front of na­tional ef­forts to strengthen rela- tions, en­hance co­op­er­a­tion and pro­mote mar­itime se­cu­rity in our ar­eas of in­ter­est. Our force level ac­cre­tions have en­abled us to en­sure that we re­main fully ca­pa­ble of se­cur­ing our mar­itime in­ter­ests and also be the net mar­itime se­cu­rity provider in the re­gion. To main­tain sta­bil­ity in the com­plex se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment of the In­dian Ocean re­gion and Indo-Pa­cific, In­dian Navy is en­gag­ing mar­itime agen­cies in the re­gion to shape a favourable and pos­i­tive mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment.

The In­dian Navy is also pur­su­ing a range of mea­sures for en­gag­ing mar­itime forces from friendly coun­tries, so as to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion and also de­velop in­ter­op­er­abil­ity. These in­clude ex­er­cises, train­ing and tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion, de­vel­op­ing of shared mar­itime do­main aware­ness, shar­ing of white ship­ping in­for­ma­tion, ca­pac­ity

build­ing and ca­pa­bil­ity en­hance­ment mea­sures, and var­i­ous co­op­er­a­tive mar­itime se­cu­rity oper­a­tions, with sus­tained in­ter­ac­tions at field, op­er­a­tional and mar­itime strate­gic lev­els. SPÕs: In a his­toric verdict by the UN Per­ma­nent Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion dis­miss­ing the claims of China within the ÔNine-dash LineÕof the South China Sea. Pre­dictably China in a most bel­liger­ent fash­ion has dis­missed the verdict out­right, caus­ing se­vere con­ster­na­tion among the mar­itime na­tions who look for the right of in­no­cent pas­sage to pro­mote own trade, com­merce and ex­ploratory rights within the re­gion. Con­sid­er­ing the emerg­ing mar­itime se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment, what would be the role of In­dian Navy in this re­gion?

CNS: In­dia sup­ports free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over flight, and unim­peded com­merce, based on the prin­ci­ples of international law, as re­flected in the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In­dia be­lieves that states should re­solve dis­putes through peace­ful means with­out threat or use of force and ex­er­cise self-re­straint in the con­duct of ac­tiv­i­ties that could com­pli­cate or es­ca­late dis­putes af­fect­ing peace and sta­bil­ity. It is re­it­er­ated that Sea Lines of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion pass­ing through the South China Sea are crit­i­cal for peace, sta­bil­ity, pros­per­ity and devel­op­ment of the re­gion. As a state party to the UNCLOS, In­dia urges all par­ties to show ut­most re­spect for the UNCLOS, which es­tab­lishes the international le­gal or­der of the seas and oceans. SP

“LCA with its present en­gine is too heavy, hence not suit­able for op­er­at­ing from a car­rier. It does not meet the thrust and weight ra­tio re­quire­ment to be able to take off with the full weapon load.” – Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, CNS

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