Mumbai: Asserting that its objective is to “get smarter and not merely larger in terms of numbers”, the Indian Navy today announced that it would commission 40 new ships, most of them to be built indigeneously, in the coming years.
“We are currently in the process of acquiring 34 new ships and have asked for funds for 40 more ships as part of an ongoing process in the next three five-year plans,” Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta told reporters here.
“This is an ongoing process and we need to scrap certain ageing ships in the fleet to make way for the new ones. The objective is not to get bigger in terms of numbers but smarter in terms of our capabilities,” he said.
Mehta also said that a majority of the 40 new ships will be built indigeneously itself and said it is his “vision” to have a strong ship building industry in the country which includes both warship building as well as merchant navy ships.
The Naval chief also said that “assymetric threats” emanating from smaller vessels, mostly used by terrorist elements, were the next big challenge for the Indian Navy and welcomed US navy chief Admiral Mike Mullen’s concept of “1,000-ship international navy”.
He expressed concern that the economic assets of the country were likely to come under the scanner of certain groups (terrorists) and there must be a better sense of preparedness to tackle them.
Regarding cooperation between countries, which is the key in Mullen’s concept, Mehta said India is already strengthening relations with countries in the Indian Ocean and South East Asia like Mauritius, Myanmar and Thailand.