In consonance with the preamble on Indian Naval Aviation on the website of Indian Navy, it is but appropriate that the lead story covers the development and modernisation of the Indian Naval Aviation. The most exciting news was the issue of request for information for a multi-role, deck-based combat aircraft.
In a rare media interaction with SP’s Naval Forces, Secretary Defence Production, Ashok Kumar Gupta, lucidly enunciated his Ministry's initiatives of Make in India in the aerospace and defence sector. He spoke on a number of issues which are relevant to the subject like foreign direct investment, industrial licensing, defence exports, defence offsets and level playing field. On the issue of encouraging private shipyards to join hands in Make in India, he said that a substantial share of defence shipbuilding is being offered to them.
The other much awaited event was Indias annual budget which now on will be announced on February 1 of every year and will also include the railway budget. Out of a total allocation of ` 86,488.01 crore (about $13.3 billion) for the capital budget, allocation for the Navy is ` 19,348.16 crore (about $3 billon) which is marginally down from last year's revised estimates of ` 19,596.28 crore. This is bit of a dampener but with elections in five states in February, probably this is the best the government could do. With the current capital allocation it will be difficult to achieve a force level of 198 warships from the current fleet of 137 by 2027, which is the future vision of the Navy. Still Navy is on an even keel and way ahead of the Army and the Air Force as 47 ships of all types are under construction.
Before demitting office President Barack Obama signed a crucial law relating to the US-India defence partnership, making India as a major defence partner. The Bill designated as Enhancing Defense and Security Cooperation with India has been incorporated as an amendment to the National Defence Authorization Act of 2017. This Bill has taken Indo-US defence cooperation to the next level.
With a coastline of 4,675 km, an exclusive economic zone covering an area of 5,98,540 square km, and geographically straddling some of the most important sea lines of communication in the world, Malaysia is without doubt a maritime nation with an important role to play in the region thus a write-up on its navy is included.
SP’s Naval Forces had an exclusive opportunity to visit the Frigate F-105 Ð Crist—bal Col—n, visiting Mumbai on its onwards journey from Spain, circumnavigating the world. Do read the exclusive report by Neetu Dhulia on the versatile and agile Frigate from the house of Navantia.
This is the year of Aero India which is being held at Bengaluru from February 14-18, 2017. SP Guide Publications will have a big presence as usual thus do visit us at Hall AB3.46. The issue is wrapped up with the customary News in Brief.
Wish you all discerning readers happy reading, and a Very Happy New Year 2017.