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Indian Navy
Naval Ensign of India.svg
Indian Navy crest.svg
Motto: शं नो वरुणः
Transliteration: Sha no Varuna
("May the Lord of the Oceans be auspicious unto us")
Commands and bases
History and traditions
History of the Indian Navy
Navy Day: 4th December
Current fleet
Full Indian Navy ship list
Naval Air Arm
MARCOS (Marine Commandos)
Weapons systems
Chief of Naval staff
Officer insignia

The Indian Navy (Devanāgarī: भारतीय नौ सेना, Bhartiya Nāu Senā) is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. It currently has approximately 56,000 personnel on active duty, including 5,000 members of the naval aviation branch, 2,000 marine commandos[1] and 1,000 Sagar Prahari Bal soldiers.[2], making it the world's fifth largest navy.[1] The Indian Navy currently operates more than 155 vessels, including the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, along with operational jet fighters.[3]

Though the primary objective of the navy is to secure national maritime borders, India also uses its navy to enhance its international relations through joint exercises, port visits and humanitarian missions, including disaster relief. In recent years, the Indian Navy has undergone extensive modernization and expansion with an intention to increase its capabilities as a recognized blue-water navy.[4][5]



The Indian Navy sees several principal roles for itself:

  • In conjunction with other armed forces of the union, act to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace;
  • Project influence in India's maritime area of interest, to further the nation’s political, economic and security objectives;
  • In cooperation with the Indian Coast Guard, ensure good order and stability in India's maritime zones of responsibility.
  • Provide maritime assistance (including disaster relief) in India's maritime neighbourhood.[6]
  • To play a key role as part of 'a pluralistic security order' for a better world.[7]


Ancient Lothal as envisaged by the Archaeological Survey of India.

India has a maritime history dating back to 7,600 years.[8][9][10][11] The first [12][13] tidal dock is believed to have been built at Lothal around 2300 BCE during the Indus Valley Civilization, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast. The Rig Veda written around 1500 BCE, credits Varuna with knowledge of the ocean routes and describes naval expeditions. There is reference to the side wings of a vessel called Plava, which give stability to the ship under storm conditions. A compass, Matsya yantra was used for navigation in the fourth and fifth century AD.

The earliest known reference to an organization devoted to ships in ancient India is to the Mauryan Empire from the 4th century BCE. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya's Prime Minister Kautilya's Arthashastra devotes a full chapter on the state department of waterways under navadhyaksha (Sanskrit for Superintendent of ships) [10]. The term, nava dvipantaragamanam (Sanskrit for sailing to other lands by ships, i.e. Exploration) appears in this book in addition to appearing in the Buddhist text, Baudhayana Dharmasastra as the interpretation of the term, Samudrasamyanam.

Chola territories during Rajendra Chola I, c. 1030

Sea lanes between India and neighboring lands were the usual form of trade for many centuries, and are responsible for the widespread influence of Indian Culture on other societies. Powerful navies included those of the Maurya, Satavahana, Chola, Vijayanagara, Kalinga, Maratha and Mughal empires.[14] The Cholas excelled in foreign trade and maritime activity, extending their influence overseas to China and Southeast Asia.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Maratha and Kerala fleets were expanded, and became the most powerful Naval Forces in the subcontinent, defeating European Navies at various times (See the Battle of Colachel). The fleet review of the Maratha navy took place at the Ratnagiri fort in which the ships Pal and Qalbat participated. The 'Pal' was a three masted fighter with guns peeping on the broadsides.[15] Kanhoji Angre and Kunjali Marakkar, the Naval chief of Saamoothiri, were two notable naval chiefs of the period.


Colonial Era

The British Indian Navy was established by the British while India was a colony in 1830 as Her Majesty's Indian Navy (earlier by the East India Company in 1612 as Honourable East India Company's Marine . See link above for complete history). The first Indian to be granted a commission was Sub Lieutenant D.N Mukherji who joined the Royal Indian Marine as an engineer officer in 1928. Indian sailors started a rebellion also known as the The Royal Indian Navy mutiny, in 1946 on board ships and shore estabilshments which spread all over India. A total of 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 sailors were involved in the rebellion. When India became a republic on 26 January 1950, it became known as the Indian Navy, and its vessels as Indian Naval Ships (INS). On 22 April 1958 Vice Admiral R. D. Katari assumed office as the first Indian Chief of the Naval Staff.

Invasion of Goa

The first engagement of the Navy in any conflict was Operation Vijay in the 1961 invasion of Goa. The operation followed years of escalating tension between Portugal's anti-decolonialist stance and India. On 21 November 1961, Portuguese troops fired on the passenger ship Sabarmati near Anjadip Island, killing one and injuring another. Shortly after, the Indian government decided to militarily intervene and end Portuguese rule in Goa. Indian ships provided fire support to navy and army landing troops. During the operation, the INS Delhi sank one Portuguese patrol boat. Indian frigates INS Betwa and INS Beas sunk the Portuguese frigate NRP Afonso de Albuquerque after a brief fight.[16]

Indo-Pakistan Wars

The INS Vikrant took part in the 1971 war and played a crucial role in securing the shores of East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh).

The Navy has been involved in two wars with Pakistan. While its activity in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 largely involved patrolling of the coast, but failed in doing so. Pakistan Navy successfully attacked indian coastal city Dawarka, operation code named Operation Dawarka, and returned to their home port successfully without any loss. Also indian navy pride aircraft Carrier Vikrant was not moved from its port fearing Pakistani submarine "Ghazi". Pakistani vessels enjoyed full time naval superiority for rest of war. However, it played a significant role in the bombing of Karachi harbour in the 1971 war. The name given to the attack was Operation Trident, which was launched on 4 December. Owing to its success, it has been celebrated as Navy Day ever since. The attack was followed by Operation Python before the center of conflict shifted to the eastern India-Pakistan border and the Bay of Bengal. To show solidarity with its ally Pakistan, the United States sent Task Force 74 led by the USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal. A task force led by INS Vikrant was stationed to counter the Enterprise task force; Soviet Navy submarines also trailed the U.S. task force. A confrontation was averted when the U.S. task force moved towards South East Asia, away from the Indian Ocean.[17]

The sinking of the Pakistani Navy's lone long-range submarine PNS Ghazi under unexplained circumstances[18], enabled an easy Indian blockade of East Pakistan.[19]. The missile boats INS Nirghat and INS Nipat each sank a destroyer; the INS Veer destroyed a minesweeper. The naval aircraft, Sea Hawks and Alizés, operating from the Vikrant were also instrumental in sinking many gunboats and merchant navy vessels. There was one major casualty, the frigate Khukri (sunk by the PNS Hangor), while the Kirpan was damaged in the western sector of conflict. Ultimately, the naval blockade of Karachi Port[20][21] and the complete blockade of East Pakistan's ports were successful in cutting Pakistani troops off from reinforcements, supplies, and evacuation routes.[22] These actions proved decisive in India's victory in the war.[23][24]

Type of Vessel Indian Navy losses Pakistan Navy losses
Destroyers Nil 2, PNS Khaibar and Shahjahan*(damaged)
Frigates 1, INS Khukri Nil
Submarines Nil 1, PNS Ghazi
Minesweeper Nil 1, PNS Muhafiz
Navy Aircraft 1, (Alize) Nil
Patrol boats and Gunboats Nil 7 Gunboats and 3 patrol boats
Merchant Navy and others Nil 11 (including one US ammunition ship)
Loss on land Nil Missile attack on Karachi harbour and oil installations.
*PNS Shahjahan was presumably damaged beyond repair.

Operation Cactus

In 1988, the Indian Navy joined the Indian Air Force in successfully thwarting a coup attempt by PLOTE in the Maldives.[25] A naval maritime reconnaissance aircraft detected a vessel hijacked by PLOTE rebels. One of the hostages on-board included a senior Maldivian minister and Operation Cactus was launched to secure the vessel. After military intervention by INS Godavari and Indian marine commandos, the rebels surrendered.[26]

1999-2001 Operations

During the 1999 Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan, the Western and Eastern fleets were deployed in the Northern Arabian Sea, as a part of Operation Talwar.[27] The intent was to safeguard India's maritime assets from a potential Pakistani naval attack, as also to deter Pakistan from escalating to a full-scale war by blocking India's naval sea-trade routes.[28] Indian Navy's aviators and commandos also fought along side Indian Army personnel during the Kargil War.[29][30]

The Indian Navy was a part of the joint forces exercises, Operation Parakram, during the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff. More than a dozen warships were deployed.[31]

Later in 2001, the Indian Navy provided escort to United States warships traveling through the Strait of Malacca to take part in Operation Enduring Freedom.[32]

Disaster relief

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

During the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake crisis, the Indian Navy deployed 27 ships, 19 helicopters, 6 naval aircraft and over 5000 Naval personnel in disaster relief operations.[33] These deployments were a part of various area-specific relief operations including Operation Madath in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Operation Sea Waves in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Operation Castor in Maldives, Operation Rainbow in Sri Lanka and Operation Gambhir in Indonesia.[34] This was one of the largest relief mobilizations that the Indian Navy had undertaken. Indian Naval groups were able to start large scale rescue operations in neighboring countries within 12 hours from the time of the tsunami, and was the first foreign navy to reach the affected areas.[33]

The quick deployment of forces during relief operations was a testing ground for the Navy's amphibious, as well as force projection capabilities.[35] Deficiencies in the response led to modernization of the naval forces after the tsunami, including the acquisition of Landing Platform Docks (LPD) like the INS Jalashwa (formerly the USS Trenton), as well as smaller amphibious vessels.[36]

Operation Sukoon

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Indian Navy evacuated 2,286 Indian nationals and expatriates, including 436 Sri Lankan and 69 Nepali citizens, from war-torn Lebanon. This operation was named Operation Sukoon, meaning "Peace and tranquility".[37][38] In the year 2006, ten naval doctors from India served for 102 days on USNS Mercy and conducted about 10 medical camps in Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia and East Timor.[39] Indian Navy has also provided relief materials to survivors of cyclones in Bangladesh[40] and Myanmar.[41] Two ships from the Indian Navy carried the first international aid material for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.[42]

Anti-piracy operations

In October 1999, a coordinated effort by the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard led to the release of a hijacked Japanese cargo ship, MV Alondra Rainbow, from pirates.[43]

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has caused significant concerns in India as most of its sea-trade routes pass through the region.[44] The Indian Navy responded to these concerns by deploying the frigate INS Tabar in the Gulf of Aden in October 2008. Within a month of its deployment, the Tabar had prevented attempts by pirates to board two cargo ships and also destroyed a pirate "mother ship".[45] As of 11 November 2008, the frigate had escorted 35 ships safely through the pirate-infested region.[46] The pirates have hijacked a fishing trawler from Thailand and made it their mothership.[47] There were also reports of India deploying destroyer INS Mysore to augment the frigate INS Tabar in anti-piracy operations.[48] On 21 November 2008 India was granted permission to enter Somalian territorial waters to intercept suspected pirate vessels.[49] 23 pirates were arrested by Indian Navy while attempting to hijack a merchant ship near the Gulf of Aden.[50] Anti-piracy patrols were carried out after a request was made by the Seychelles government,[51] resulting in the arrest of nine pirates.[52] Further ships has been send to give a boost to anti-piracy operations.[53] While preventing a pirate attack on a Liberian vessel MV Maud, two pirates were killed and the remaining six were apprehended.[54] On 7 December 2009, the Indian Navy successfully repulsed a pirate attack on a US-owned tanker in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia coast.[55] The Indian Navy was awarded by the U.N for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.[56]


Commissioned Officers

Rank Insignia
Shoulder IN Admiral of the NAVY Shoulder curl.png IN Admiral Shoulder curl.png IN Admiral Shoulder Board.png IN Vice Admiral Shoulder curl.png IN Vice Admiral Shoulder Board.png IN Rear Admiral Shoulder curl.png IN Rear Admiral Shoulder Board.png IN Commodore.png IN Commodore Shoulder Board.png IN Captain.png IN Commander.png IN Lieutenant Commander.png IN Lieutenant.png IN Sublieutenant.png
Sleeve IN Admiral of Navy Sleeve.png IN Admiral Sleeve.png IN Vice Admiral Sleeve.png IN Rear Admiral Sleeve .png IN Commodore Sleeve.png IN Captain Sleeve.png IN Commander Sleeve.png IN Lieutenant Commander Sleeve.png IN Lieutenant Sleeve.png IN Sublieutenant Sleeve.png
Rank Admiral of
the Fleet
Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant
Lieutenant Sublieutenant
  • ¹ Honorary/War time rank. No officer held this rank in the Indian Navy.

The Commander of the Navy is the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, who was fomerly the Eastern Naval Commander at Visakhapatnam, has assumed responsibility as the head of Navy from incumbent Admiral

Commissioning ceremony of INS Jalashwa, an amphibious transport dock. Part of the Eastern Fleet, the Jalashwa is the second-largest ship currently in-service with the Indian Navy.[57]

Sureesh Mehta, who retires from service [58] .

While the provision for the rank of Admiral of the Fleet exists, it is primarily intended for major wartime use and honour. No officer of the Indian Navy has yet been conferred this rank. (Both the Army and Air Force have had officers who have been conferred with the equivalent rank - Field Marshals Sam Manekshaw and Cariappa of the Army and Marshal of the Indian Air Force (MIAF) Arjan Singh.)

Enlisted Personnel


Indian Naval establishments.

The Indian Navy is divided into the following broad categories:

  • Administration
  • Logistics and Material
  • Training
  • The Fleets
  • The Naval Aviation
  • The Submarine Arm


The Indian Navy operates four Commands. Each Command is headed by a Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the rank of Vice Admiral.

Commands HQ Location Current FOC-in-C
Western Naval Command Mumbai Vice Admiral Vinod Bhasin
Eastern Naval Command Visakhapatnam Vice Admiral Anup Singh[59]
Southern Naval Command Kochi Vice Admiral K N Sushil
Far Eastern Naval Command Port Blair Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar

The Far Eastern command, a joint Navy, Army and Air force command was set up in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2001 as a strategic area of defence.[60] It was created to safeguard India's strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca. The Indian Navy plays a major role in patrolling the area with the Indonesian Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy and Royal Thai Navy.[61] India and Australia signed an agreement to provide maritime security in the Asia Pacific region.[62]


Indian Navy Tu-142 and IL-38SD stationed at Arakkonam Naval Air Station

In 2005, the Indian Navy commissioned INS Kadamba at Karwar, 100 km from Goa. This is the third operational naval base after Mumbai and Vishakapatnam and the first to be controlled exclusively by the Navy. (The other bases share port facilities with civilian shipping, but this one is for purely naval use.) Built under Phase I of the multi-billion dollar 'Project Seabird', it is the largest naval base in the region.[63] Asia's largest Naval academy INS Zamorin, was inaugurated at Ezhimala, in January 2009 by the Prime Minister of India.[64]

Another naval base is being planned for the eastern shores, near Vishakapatnam at a cost of USD 350 million.[65] The base, which will be located fifty km south of Vishakapatnam in Rambilli Mandal, will have comprehensive anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and amphibious capability.[66]

The Indian Navy is setting up a Naval Station in Madagascar,[67][68] to monitor and patrol the coast of Mozambique as well as the Southern Indian Ocean.[69]

The Indian Navy also has berthing rights in Oman.

Marine Commando Force

Indian Navy's marine commandos during an exercise in the Philippine Sea.

The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also known as MARCOS, is a special forces unit that was raised by the Indian Navy in 1987 for direct action, special reconnaissance, amphibious warfare and counter-terrorism. In 1988, the MARCOS successfully rescued several hostages, including Maldives' then-Minister of Education, aboard a ship hijacked by PLOTE mercenaries during Operation Cactus.

The MARCOS are also deployed to prevent infiltration through the Jhelum and Wular Lake and are involved in covert counter-terrorism operations in and around lakes and rivers in Jammu and Kashmir.[70][71]

The MARCOS were also involved in the rescue mission of hostages captured by the terrorists in Taj Mahal Palace & Tower luxury hotel in Mumbai as part of a large terrorist attack in Mumbai metropolis in November 2008.


The names of all commissioned ships (and Naval Bases) of the Indian Navy are prefixed with the letters INS, designating Indian Naval Ship or Indian Navy Station.

The fleet of the Indian Navy is a mix of domestic built and foreign vessels and is expanding with new inductions. India often build destroyers, frigates and corvettes.


The Indian Navy currently operates the Delhi and Rajput class guided-missile destroyers.

The next-generation, Kolkata class vessels are expected to be commissioned starting in 2012.


The guided-missile frigates currently in service are the Talwar class, Brahmaputra class and Godavari class. The Nilgiri class (variants of the British Leander class) vessels have all been decommissioned. The 3 Advanced Talwar class frigates (Krivak IV) are also scheduled for delivery by 2012.

The next-generation Shivalik class vessels, which will have a lot of stealth features incorporated into them are planned for commissioning in 2010.


The Indian Navy currently operates the Kora, Khukri, Veer and Abhay class corvettes.

The next-generation Project 28 and Project 28A class of corvettes are expected to be commissioned starting in 2012.

Amphibious warfare vessels

The Indian Navy has an Amphibious transport dock of the Austin class, re-christened as INS Jalashwa in service.

Aircraft Carriers

The Indian Navy presently has one aircraft carrier in active service — INS Viraat. The carrier is planned for decommissioning after the induction of the first domestically built Vikrant class aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy will also induct the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya in 2014.[72]


INS Sindhuvijay, a Sindhughosh class submarine

Diesel Submarines

The Indian Navy currently maintains a fleet of diesel-electric submarines, primarily of the Sindhughosh and Shishumar classes.

India signed a deal for six Scorpène class submarines with MESMA air-independent propulsion and construction has begun. These submarines will join the Indian Navy from 2012 onwards.[73] The Indian Navy may arm its Kilo class submarine fleet with the BrahMos cruise missiles after successfully completing test launches from the submarine.[74] India will issue request for proposals for another six submarines in financial year 2008-09.[75]

Unmanned Submarines

The National Institute of Oceanography has developed the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) that has applications in the field of Oceanographic research. Also an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) has been developed.[76]

Nuclear powered submarines

A Charlie class nuclear submarine, then known as INS Chakra, leased between 1988-1991 by the Indian Navy.

In January 1988, India leased for three years an ex-Soviet Charlie class nuclear powered guided missile submarine with eight Ametist (SS-N-7 Starbright) anti-shipping missile launchers. In the Indian Navy, the vessel was christened INS Chakra, and the submarine was manned by an Indian crew. Upon expiration of the ship leasing term in 1991, the submarine was returned to Russia and joined the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy.

India's indigenously designed and built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines of the Arihant class are expected to be commissioned starting in 2011.[77] The lead vessel of the class, INS Arihant, was launched for sea-trials on 26 July 2009 in Visakhapatnam.[78]

Planned Acquisitions

The Navy is purchasing from Russia the Kiev class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya), which will be delivered to India by 2012.[79]

The Indian Navy is also negotiating with Russia for the acquisition of further Advanced Talwar class frigates, and six conventional submarines.

India started a program in 1985 to develop indigenous technologies for building a nuclear-powered submarine, known as the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project .The first Advanced Technology Vessel is called INS Arihant, was launched on 26 July 2009.[80] The hull for the vessel has been built by Larsen & Toubro at its A naval version of a nuclear reactor has been developed at the Indira Gandhi Centre For Atomic Research, Kalpakkam and will be deployed on the submarine's hull after miniaturization. The Prototype Testing Centre (PTC) will be used to test the submarine's turbines and propellers. A similar facility is operational at Vishakapatnam to test the main turbines and gear box.

Once the vessel is completed, it may be equipped with K-15 as well as Sagarika/Agni-III ballistic missiles and advanced Indian made sonar systems. According to defense sources, the ATV is expected to be commissioned in 2010. Each unit will cost one billion U.S. dollars.[81] Government has given approval for constructing the follow on SSBN's which will be larger than the Arihant class submarines. Approval has also been given for the construction of SSN's which will escort the SSBN's.[82]

India is reportedly paying two billion dollars for the completion of two Akula-II class submarines which were 40-60% completed.[83] Three hundred Indian Navy personnel are being trained in Russia for the operation of these submarines. India has finalized a deal with Russia, in which at the end of the lease of these submarines, it has an option to buy them. According to report, the first submarine will be commissioned into the Indian Navy in September, 2009.[84] The first submarine will be named INS Chakra, it is currently undergoing trials in the Pacific ocean.[85][86]


Mig-29K of the Indian Navy.
An Indian Navy Sea Harrier on INS Viraat.

The naval air-arm is an important component of the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy air arm consists of Sea Harrier jets that operate from the aircraft carrier INS Viraat and also from INS Jalashwa. Recently, the Harriers were modernized for Beyond Visual Range missile capability. The Kamov-31 provide the Airborne Early Warning cover for the fleet. In the anti-submarine role the Sea King, Ka-28 and the domestic built HAL Dhruv are used. The MARCOS use Sea King and HAL Dhruv helicopters while conducting operations. Reconnaissance operations are carried out by Tupolev 142, Ilyushin 38, Dornier Do 228 aircraft, as well as HAL Chetak helicopters. The Aircraft used for carrying out roles of a strategic bomber and as a maritime strike are carried out by 4(3 more on order) Tupolev Tu-22M, which is also capable of performing reconnaissance missions. The UAV arm consists of around 30 UAVs like Heron and Searcher-IIs that are operated from ships and shore for better surveillance. The Indian Navy also maintains a four aircraft aerobatic display team, the Sagar Pawan. The Sagar Pawan team will be replacing their present Kiran HJT-16 aircraft with the newly developed HJT-36 aircraft.[87] The Indian Navy has also placed an order for 8 P-8I Poseidon long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft.[88]

In January 2004, the Indian Navy signed a contract for the delivery of 12 MiG-29K and 4 MiG-29KUB which will be operated from INS Vikramaditya.[89] The first MiG-29KUB manufactured for the Navy took to the skies in May 2008.[90] The first four aircraft were delivered to India in February 2009.[91] There were also reports that the Indian Navy would purchase an additional 30 MiG-29Ks and -KUBs for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier.[92][93]

The Indian Air Force also has a maritime strike role, providing support to the Indian Navy. It operates SEPECAT Jaguar[94][95] and Sukhoi Su-30MKI[96] Aircraft in this role. The Jaguars are armed with the Sea Eagle missile, which will be replaced with the Harpoon missile.[97] Su-30MKI and the Il-38 will be armed with the air-launched version of the Brahmos cruise missile.

Weapon systems

INS Mysore has been deployed in the Gulf of Aden to check piracy.

The Indian Navy uses modern technology and weapon systems, most of which are imported from foreign countries. Others, like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, are jointly developed with Russia - a major stride in defense research. There are reports on the joint development by India and Israel of the Barak-II missile system, an improved, longer range version of the Barak-I air defence missile which is operational on Indian Navy ships.[98] The Barak-I is used on most of the main ships of the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy's nuclear deterrence capability is based on Sukanya class ships armed with the Dhanush ballistic missiles that has a range of 350 km.

India has a number of foreign made cruise missile systems, including the Klub SS-N-27. It also has its own Nirbhay cruise missile systems under development. The Sagarika (Oceanic) submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which has a range of at least 700 km (some sources claim 1000 km) forms part of India's nuclear triad. Another successful program has been the adaptation of the Yakhont anti-ship missile system into the BrahMos by the NPO and the DRDO. The BrahMos has been tailored to Indian needs and uses a large proportion of Indian-designed components and technology, including its fire control systems, transporter erector launchers, and its onboard navigational attack systems. The successful test of Brahmos from INS Rajput (D51) provides Indian Navy with precision land attack capability.[99]

Electronic warfare and systems management

INS Shivalik prior to commissioning at Mazagon Docks Limited, Mumbai.

Sangraha is a joint electronic warfare program of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy. The system comprises a family of electronic warfare suites, such as Ajanta and Ellora, for use on different naval platforms capable of intercepting, detecting, and classifying pulsed, carrier wave, pulse repetition frequency agile, frequency agile and chirp radars. The systems employ a modular approach facilitating deployment on various platforms like helicopters, vehicles, and small ships. Certain platforms, apart from ESM (electronic support measures), have ECM (electronic countermeasure) capabilities. Advanced technologies like multiple-beam phased array jammers are employed in the system for simultaneous handling of multiple threats.[100]

The Indian Navy also relies on information technology to face the challenges of the 21st century. The Indian Navy is implementing a new strategy to move from a platform centric force to a network-centric force by linking all shore-based installations and ships via high-speed data networks and satellites.[101][102] This will help in increased operational awareness. The network is referred to as the Navy Enterprise Wide Network (NEWN). The Indian Navy has also provided training to all its personnel in Information Technology (IT) at the Naval Institute of Computer Applications (NICA) located in Mumbai. Information technology is also used to provide better training, like the usage of simulators and for better management of the force.[103]

Fleet reviews

The President of India is entitled to inspect his fleet, as he is the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The first President's fleet review by India was hosted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 10 October 1953. President's reviews usually take place once in the President's term. In all, nine fleet reviews have taken place, the most recent being in February 2006, when President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam took the review.[104] The Indian Navy also conducted an International fleet review named Bridges of Friendship in February 2001 in Mumbai. Many ships of friendly Navies from all around the world participated, including two from the U.S. Navy.[105][106]

Once in two years navies from the Indian Ocean region meet at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the event is named as MILAN (Sanskrit: Get together).[107] MILAN included a passage exercise in 2010.[108]

Naval exercises and cooperation

Naval ships from five nations in formation during Malabar 2007, the largest war-game hosted by India.[109]

India often conducts naval exercises with other friendly countries designed to increase naval interoperability and also to strengthen cooperative security relationship. Some such exercises take place annually like the Varuna with the French Navy, Konkan with the Royal Navy, Indra with Russian Navy, Malabar with the U.S. Navy and Simbex[110] with the Republic of Singapore Navy. The Indian Navy also conducted exercise with the People's Liberation Army Navy in 2003 and will send ships to the South China Sea to participate in the fleet review.[111] In 2007, the TROPEX (Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercises) was held during which Indian Navy experimented the doctrine of influencing a land and air battle to support the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.[112] Apart from the Indian Ocean, India has steadily gained influence in the Pacific Ocean. In 2007, Indian Navy conducted naval exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and U.S Navy in the Pacific[113] and also signed an agreement with Japan in October 2008 for joint naval patrolling in the Asia-Pacific region.[114]

Naval aircraft from Indian and US Navy flying in formation over Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Viraat during Malabar 2007.

India has also held naval exercise with Vietnam,[115] Philippines and New Zealand.[116] In 2007, India and South Korea decided to conduct annual naval exercise[117] and India participated in the South Korean international fleet review.[118] In addition, Indian Navy will also be increasing naval cooperation with other allies, particularly with Germany[119] and Arab states of the Persian Gulf including Kuwait, Oman,[120] Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.[121][122] India held the first Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)[123] with an objective to provide a forum for all the littoral nations of the Indian Ocean to cooperate on mutually agreed areas for better security in the region.[124] The Indian Navy is increasingly used in international diplomacy.[125] Since 2000, the Indian naval ships have made port calls in Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Greece, Oman, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, South Africa,[126]Kenya,[127] Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait[128] and other countries in 2005-2007.

The first Atlantic Ocean deployment of the Indian Navy happened in 2009. During this deployment, the Indian Naval fleet will conduct exercise with the French, German, Russian and British Navies.[129]

Tropex 2010 is currently underway with the Western and Eastern fleets taking part along with elements from the airforce. [130]


INS Tarangini is the only sail training ship in the Indian Navy and is an icon of India's rich maritime history.

The Indian Navy regularly conducts adventure expeditions. The sailing ship and training vessel INS Tarangini began circumnavigating the world on 23 January 2003, intending to foster good relations with various other nations; she returned to India in May of the following year after visiting 36 ports in 18 nations.[131] INS Tarangini returned to port, after a ten month long overseas voyage named Lokayan 07.[132] Lt. Cdr. M.S. Kohli led the Indian Navy’s first successful expedition to Mount Everest in 1965; the Navy’s ensign was again flown atop Everest on 19 May 2004 by a similar expedition. Another Navy team also successfully scaled Everest from the north face, the technically more challenging route.[133] The expedition was led by Cdr Satyabrata Dam, belonging to the elite submarine arm. Cdr. Dam is a mountaineer of international repute and has climbed many mountains including the Patagonias, the Alps among others. This team's record is unmatched by any other navy. The Navy was also the first to send a submariner to summit Everest.[134]

An Indian Navy team comprising 11 members successfully completed an expedition to the Arctic pole. To prepare, they first traveled to Iceland, where they attempted to summit a peak.[135] The team next flew to eastern Greenland; in the Kulusuk and Angmassalik areas, they used Inuit boats to navigate the region’s ice-choked fjords. They crossed northward across the Arctic Circle, reaching seventy degrees North on skis. The team scaled an unnamed peak of height 11,000 feet and named it ‘’Indian Peak’’.[136]

The Indian Naval ensign first flew in Antarctica in 1981.[137] The Indian Navy succeeded in Mission Dakshin Dhruv 2006 by traversing to the South Pole on skis. With this historic expedition, they have set the record for being the first military team to have successfully completed a ski traverse to the Geographic South Pole.[138] Also, three of the ten member team - the expedition leader - Cdr. Satyabrata Dam, leading medical assistants Rakesh Kumar and Vikas Kumar are now amongst the few people in the world to have visited the two poles and summited Mt. Everest.[139][140] Indian Navy became the first organization to reach the poles and Mt.Everest.[141] A solo circumnavigation voyage named 'Sagar Parikrama' is underway by Cdr. Dilip Donde.[142]

Ongoing expansion

Artist's impression of INS Vikramaditya.

In 2004, India bought the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov for the equivalent of US$1.5 billion. It will cost an additional US$1.5 billion to refit, and is expected to join the Indian Navy in 2012 as INS Vikramaditya. A further US$700 million will be spent to purchase 12 single-seat MiG-29K and four dual-seat MiG-29KUB fighters, six Kamov-31 attack and reconnaissance anti-submarine helicopters; also included are training facilities for pilots and technical staff, delivery of simulators and spare parts, and establishment and maintenance of Indian Navy facilities. Upgrades include removing missiles from the carrier foredeck to make way for a 14.3-degree ski-jump.[143] The Mig-29's will be delivered to the Indian Navy in 2009.[144]

In April 2007, India began construction of a 40,000 tonne Vikrant class aircraft carrier at a cost of $800 million and scheduled to operate 30 aircraft, including Naval LCA, MiG-29K, and Sea Harrier combat aircraft, as well as HAL Dhruv, Ka-31, and Sea King Mk.42 helicopters. Four turbine engines will power the ship. The carrier is being constructed by state-run Cochin Shipyard Limited.[145] and will be commissioned by 2012-13. The Indian Minister of State for Defence, Pallam Raju, went on record in September 2006 stating that the aircraft carrier is likely to be commissioned by 2011.[146] There are plans to build more aircraft carriers domestically.[147]

The Indian Navy is currently undergoing rapid expansion and modernisation.[148] Yantar, a plant in Kaliningrad, Russia, was awarded a US$1.56 billion contract to build three additional 1135.6 frigates. The increased price is due to more sophisticated armaments such as BrahMos cruise missiles. The Navy has government approval for an additional eight warships.

The Indian Navy has signed a deal with Boeing to supply eight P-8 Poseidon Anti Submarine Warfare/Maritime Surveillance Aircraft. The first aircraft will be delivered 4 years after the signing of the contract, that is 2012.[149]

Future Prospects

Graphic image of INS Arihant, India's first ballistic missile nuclear submarine.

India is expected to spend about US$40 billion on military modernization from 2008 to 2013.[150] A major chunk of those purchases were made for the Indian Navy. Work on the third aircraft carrier is to start in 2010 and will be inducted into the Navy by 2017.[151] Order has been placed for seven Project 17A class frigates.[152] India is currently focusing on expanding its submarine fleet. Also newer technology like the Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) is being developed for the Indian Navy.[153][154]

After ordering six Scorpene submarines as part of Project 75, Indian Navy is now on the look out for six next-generation submarines in a project worth over Rs 30,000 crore. These six diesel-electric submarines built in India under Project-75I, will be equipped with air-independent propulsion boosting their operational capabilities and will have high degree of stealth, land-attack capability and ability to incorporate futuristic technologies. RFI has been issued to Rosoboronexport, French (Armaris), HDW and other firms, two rounds of discussions have already taken place. The RFP or global tender will be issued in late-2008 or early-2009.[155]

The RFP (request for proposal) for six MRMR aircraft with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities was issued on 11 July 2008 to Italian Alenia Aeronautica's ATR-72-500MP aircraft, Brazilian Embraer P-99 , French Dassault's Falcon 900DX and Russian Antonov-72P. The contract is expected to be signed by June 2009 and deliveries to begin by 2012. The contract is estimated to cost Rs. 1,600 crore. The Navy is also planning to induct more UAVs. The India-Israel joint venture to convert the Chetak helicopters into unmanned UAV's that can operate from ships is progressing steadily. All these will be linked with space-based reconnaissance systems.[156] On 13 January 2009, India has issued a request for proposals (RFPs) for six Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft. The new aircraft, which will replace the aging fleet of 10 Islander aircraft in service, are to be equipped with an Airborne Early Warning system. The Indian Coast Guard has an additional requirement for six MRMRs without an Airborne Early Warning system. The MRMR is required to have a range of 500 nautical miles and an endurance of 6 hours. Aircraft competing for the order include a variant of Boeing's P-8I, and possibly the turboprop ATR-72MP, EADS C-295, Dassault's Falcon 900MPA and Embraer P-99A platforms. For the Coast Guard RFP, contenders could be the ATR-42MP, C-295 or CN-235MP.

Indian Navy has issued a tender for procurement of 16 advanced, multi-role naval helicopters to AgustaWestland, EADS and Sikorsky. The order is likely to be expanded to 60 helicopters. The helicopters will be equipped with anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare equipment including cruise missiles and torpedoes, and also be capable of being refuelled in flight. The type will operate from both naval vessels and land bases.[157]

Global bids has been floated to acquire eight mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs), to replace the twelve Pondicherry class ocean minesweepers in service. France's DCN International, Fincantieri of Italy, Izar of Spain, Kangnam Shipbuilding Co. of South Korea and Northrop Grumman of the U.S have been invited to participate in the bidding process. Six of the craft will be produced at Goa shipyard under transfer of technology.[158]

With the recent and ongoing upgrades and inductions, independent analysts expect that the Indian Navy may soon become a blue-water navy.[159] India's navy is already the most powerful in the region,[160] and with further upgrades in the future, aims to control the Indian Ocean Region, from the coast of East Africa to Australia.[161] India is also the only Asian navy to regularly operate aircraft carriers.[162] The aim is to have a total of three Aircraft carriers resulting in two fully operational Carrier battle groups and an additional Aircraft carrier eventually in refit making India an operating Blue-water navy.[163]

The ambitious long term plan that was recently revealed shows a road-map to blue water navy with six aircraft carriers.[164]

See also



  1. ^ a b Global Security article on the Indian Navy
  2. ^ Fast Interceptor boats for Sagar Prahari Bal
  3. ^ The Gorshkov deal
  4. ^ India's drive for a 'Blue water' Navy by Dr. David Scott, International Relations, Brunel University
  5. ^ India's 12 Steps to a World-Class Navy
  6. ^ Shaping India's maritime strategy - opportunities and challenges
  7. ^ India prepared for global security role: Antony
  8. ^ Interesting facts about India
  9. ^ Maritime trade with the west
  10. ^ Indus Valley Civilization
  11. ^ Economics of the Indus valley civilization
  12. ^ How to Build a Dock
  13. ^ Indian seabed hides ancient remains
  14. ^ History of the Indian Navy
  15. ^ Stamps issued in 2001
  16. ^ Goa Operation — Indian Navy
  17. ^ US intervention in 1971 war
  18. ^ Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-first Century By Geoffrey Till
  19. ^ "Maritime Awareness and Pakistan Navy". Defence Notes by Commander (Retd) Muhammad Azam Khan. Retrieved 16 May 2005. 
  20. ^ Baluchis, Beijing, and Pakistan’s Gwadar Port - Henry L. Stimson Center
  21. ^ The Resurgence of Baluch nationalism by Frédéric Grare - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  22. ^ Bangladesh: Out of War, a Nation Is Born Dec. 20, 1971 TIME
  23. ^ The Bangladesh war Britannica online
  24. ^ The courage to say no!
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ 'India's national interest had been made coterminous with maritime security'
  28. ^
  29. ^ The Indian Navy celebrates its silent Kargil victory
  30. ^ Ministry of Defense Report
  31. ^
  32. ^ President Discusses Strong U.S.-India Partnership in New Delhi, India 3 March 2006, The White House
  33. ^ a b Tsunami diplomacy improves India's global image
  34. ^ Indian Naval Diplomacy: Post Tsunami
  35. ^ India is projecting its military power
  36. ^ INS Jalashwa joins Eastern Fleet
  37. ^ Operation Sukoon
  38. ^ Operation Sukoon @ official website
  39. ^ Indian Navy Doctors Serve on U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Mercy’s Aid Mission in South and Southeast Asia
  40. ^ India sends rice for Bangladesh storm victims
  41. ^ India's assistance to Myanmar must reflect its regional role
  42. ^
  43. ^ Navy, Coast Guard nab pirates, rescue hijacked merchant vessel off Goa coast
  44. ^ How sea piracy is hurting India
  45. ^ Indian Navy destroys pirate ship in Gulf of Aden
  46. ^
  47. ^ India sank Thai ship atacked by pirates - IMB
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ Apprehension of Pirate Vessel
  51. ^ Navy responds to SOS from Seychelles
  52. ^ Indian Navy ship foils piracy bid near Seychelles, nine arrested
  53. ^ Another naval ship heads for Seychelles
  54. ^ Indian navy foils pirate attack in Gulf of Aden.
  55. ^
  56. ^ UN commends Indian Navy for anti-piracy role
  57. ^
  58. ^ [1]
  59. ^
  60. ^ Commanding the ocean
  61. ^ Malacca Straits security: role seen for Indian Navy
  62. ^ India, Australia sign defence accord
  63. ^ Project Seabird
  64. ^ Naval Chief: PM to commission Ezhimala Academy
  65. ^ India navy drops another anchor
  66. ^ Navy to set up second base in Vizag
  67. ^ Indian Navy to lease station in Madagascar
  68. ^ India activates first listening post on foreign soil: radars in Madagascar
  69. ^ India, Mozambique sign maritime defense agreement
  70. ^ Navy's Marine Commandos steal the show
  71. ^ MARCOS (Marine Commandos)
  72. ^ Russia, India to sign addendum on Admiral Gorshkov deal
  73. ^ India's navy in $1.8bn sub deal
  74. ^ Submarine launch is next BrahMos frontier
  75. ^ India plans to buy 6 new subs, says Navy chief
  76. ^ NSTL develops autonomous underwater vehicle
  77. ^
  78. ^ PIB press release
  79. ^ Russia confirms delivery of Admiral Gorshkov in 2012
  80. ^ [2]
  81. ^ The secret undersea weapon, India Today
  82. ^ Deep impact
  83. ^ Akula class submarine
  84. ^ India expecting to take delivery of Russian Akula II nuclear powered submarine next year
  85. ^ The secret nuke sub deal
  86. ^ Indian nuclear submarine", India Today, August 2007 edition
  87. ^ Indian military aviation OrBat
  88. ^ India inks largest-ever defence deal with US
  89. ^ [3]
  90. ^ [4]
  91. ^ [5]
  92. ^ [6]
  93. ^ [7]
  94. ^ Sepecat/HALJaguar
  95. ^ Image of IAF maritime Jaguar
  96. ^ Indian Air Force's Su-30MKI ready for maritime role
  97. ^ India opts for US Harpoon missiles
  98. ^ Israel, India to Cooperate on $350M Long-Range Barak SAM Project
  99. ^ Brahmos naval version tested successfully
  100. ^ Sangraha electronic warfare system
  101. ^ Navy building high-speed data network
  102. ^ Change but Continuity: The Indian Navy Marches Ahead
  103. ^ Information technology and Indian Navy
  104. ^ President's fleet review
  105. ^ Bridges of friendship gallery
  106. ^ Bridges of Friendship
  107. ^ Indian Navy Displays its Blue-Water Capabilities
  108. ^ Milan exercise concludes with passage exercise
  109. ^ Largest Navy War Game
  110. ^ Simbex-2009
  111. ^ India to take part in China's International Fleet Review
  112. ^ India eNews - Indian Navy validates new maritime warfare doctrine
  113. ^ Indian Navy holds joint drills with top naval powers
  114. ^ Eye on China, India and Japan ink security pact
  115. ^ Two Indian naval ships dock in Sai Gon Port for 5-day visit.
  116. ^ Indian Navy engages US and Russia away from Home
  117. ^ India, S Korea to hold joint naval exercise
  118. ^ [8]
  119. ^ Indo-German naval exercises to begin today
  120. ^ Abu Dhabi:Indian naval ships attract visitors
  121. ^ Naval flotilla to hold exercises with Persian Gulf states
  122. ^ India ready for naval exercises with GCC countries
  123. ^ IONS-Official website
  124. ^ PM calls on Indian Ocean navies to pool resources
  125. ^ Indian navy's role in international diplomacy increasing
  126. ^ Realising the Indian Dream
  127. ^ Indian ship bids farewell to Kenya
  128. ^ Indian naval ships coming on courtesy tour
  129. ^ Navy war games with French, British in Atlantic next month
  130. ^ Indian Navy begins TROPEX 2010
  131. ^ INS Tarangini
  132. ^ A ship sails tall and proud
  133. ^ Indian Navy on top of the world
  134. ^ I Indian Navy summits Everest
  135. ^ Indian Navy Team in Iceland
  136. ^ Chilling out!
  137. ^ Indian Navy timeline
  138. ^ Navy team becomes first military unit to ski to South Pole
  139. ^ Indian Navy Mission Dakshin Dhruv 2006-07
  140. ^ The Indian Navy team all set to scale Mount Everest following the Tibet route
  141. ^ Indian Navy North pole team creates record
  142. ^ Official blog of mission Sagarparikrama
  143. ^ A report on India's purchase of Admiral Gorshkov
  144. ^ Indian carrierborne MiG handover inches closer
  145. ^ India's construction of aircraft carrier.
  146. ^ IAC construction
  147. ^ *India to have ‘3-carrier Navy’
  148. ^ *Indian Navy's 15-Year Modernization Plan Progresses
  149. ^ [9]
  150. ^ India is projecting its military power-Page 2>
  151. ^ Indian Navy to get third aircraft carrier by 2017
  152. ^ Navy seals 45,000-cr deal: seven warships
  153. ^ DRDO developing unmanned underwater vehicle
  154. ^ Unmanned defence systems come of age
  155. ^ Indian Navy Project-75A: RFIs Issued for Six Advanced Submarines; Rosoboronexport, Armaris, HDW in the Fray
  156. ^ Navy looks to boost snoop power
  157. ^ Naval helicopter request for proposals expected around mid-2009
  158. ^ India Seeks 8 Mine Countermeasure Vessels
  159. ^ India Pursuing Blue Water Navy, Ballistic Missile Sub
  160. ^ Background Note: India Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, October 2006, U.S. State Department
  162. ^ Beijing still quiet on US-India deal By Yuan Jing-dong 16 March 2006 Taipei Times
  163. ^
  164. ^


External links


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