The Indian Navy is all set to increase its officer and sailor strength by 10-15 per cent who would be deployed on all new ships, submarines and aircraft to be inducted in the next five years for maintaining the combative edge in the Indian Ocean region.
Outlining the road map to its top commanders here on Friday, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said contracts for five Offshore Patrol Vessels, two Cadet Training Ships, eight Amphibious Landing Craft and Fast Interceptor Craft concluded in the last few months. Besides these vessels, the Navy is getting large ships like two aircraft carriers, nine nuclear and conventional submarines and a large number of destroyers and frigates, which are under constructions at various ship yards in India and abroad.
On the aviation side, the first batch of MiG 29K aircraft for Vikramaditya had been inducted this year. The first flight of the P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft took place in September and the first aircraft is on schedule for induction in 2013. The Navy plans to induct as many as 12 of them. Sustaining the new platforms would require an increase in manpower.
Since an officer’s training takes about 4-5 years and sailor’s training about two years, the Navy has already begun increasing its intake of officers and sailors, which would continue for at least next five years, sources said.
The Navy chief said highest priority was accorded in creating forward operating bases, operational turn around bases and naval air enclaves on the mainland and in the islands at the earliest.
The plan is to make three forward operating bases in Andaman and Nicober Islands — Campbell Bay, Diglipur and Kamorta — two naval air enclaves in Andaman (Shivpur) and Karwar and two operational turn around bases in Paradip and Tuticorin. Most of which would be ready by 2013.
The new platforms and bases are expected to help the Indian Navy discharge its role as the net security provider in Indian Ocean region.