As China’s naval force grows, India is conducting more warship patrols than ever before, raising questions about the country’s ability to maintain dominance in the Indian Ocean.
According to top Indian military sources acquainted with the situation, the waters around India haven’t seen this many naval boats together since World War II, as both China and Western allies deploy additional warships in the area. They estimated that some 125 foreign naval boats were in the Indian Ocean at any given moment, approximately three times the number deployed after the September 11 terrorist attacks when the United States attacked Afghanistan.
While Indian officials are convinced that they will be able to control the threat, for the time being, a shortage of money threatens the country’s capacity to keep up with China and other countries. The majority of India’s submarines, which are vital for ocean control, are over two decades old and plans to expand the naval fleet to 200 ships, including a third aircraft carrier, have been repeatedly postponed.
India today has approximately 130 warships, accounting for roughly a third of China’s naval arsenal of 350 ships and submarines, the world’s largest. Despite this, the navy had the largest difference between sought and actual funds among India’s three armed forces last year, prompting a parliamentary panel to warn the government to avoid making additional cuts.
On Feb. 1, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government submits its annual spending plan in parliament, the navy’s budget will be in the spotlight. In the last five years, the difference between what the Indian Navy asked and what it received ranged from 5% to 41%, according to a 2020 report to the government by a panel of legislators. They stated the navy’s allotment was “less than half the amount” in the most recent report, which was presented last month “It desired.
Bharat Bhushan Babu, a spokesman for the Indian Defense Ministry, and Commander Vivek Madhwal, a spokesman for the Indian Navy, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“As the region becomes more military, tensions in the area are sure to rise,” he stated “S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies assistant professor Anit Mukherjee.
“If India wishes to handle its rising diplomatic and geopolitical needs, it must develop its navy.”
China has had warships in the Indian Ocean since 2008, and India is continually watching three to eight of them that are constantly on patrol, according to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar. He remarked, “I want to assure you that the Indian Navy is confident in its ability to defend India’s maritime interests.”
From the Gulf of Aden in the west to the Malacca Strait in the east, India has permanent warships stationed at five choke points in the Indian Ocean. The waterways transport around 40% of the world’s oil from fossil-fuel producers in the Middle East to some of Asia’s most populous countries.