The statement comes days after Indian Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh highlighted the requirement of three aircraft carriers for the Navy to overcome critical capability voids during a naval commanders’ conference in New Delhi.
To deepen defence cooperation, Britain has offered an aircraft carrier similar to its biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth to India to build the copycat at any Indian shipyard.
British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith on Friday said HMS Queen Elizabeth will soon operate in the Indian Ocean region on its maiden voyage.
“The relationship between the Royal Navy and Indian Navy presents opportunities for cooperation, ranging from safety to electric propulsion to cooperation on aircraft carriers”, the British High Commissioner told the press here.
Sources indicate that an Indian delegation had already visited Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland, which is where the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft — HMS Prince of Wales — is now being assembled.
Elaborating on the requirement of three aircraft carriers, the Indian Navy chief said with the availability of additional aircraft only the Navy will be able to deploy at least one operational carrier on either seaboard at any given time, “especially in light of the increasing mandate of Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region”.
Currently, the Indian Navy has a single aircraft carrier of Russian-origin Vikramaditya and a second aircraft carrier may be commissioned in the next 24 months.
Admiral Singh has also indicated that the Navy would prefer to build a 65,000-tonne vessel, possibly with electric propulsion and CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take off but Arrested Recovery).
The British High Commissioner also declared that a liaison officer will be stationed at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region.
IFC was established with the vision of strengthening maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond, by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region.
London also said that the 2021 bilateral naval exercise with the Indian Navy could be the most complex and sophisticated so far. The head of the UK Ministry of Defence’s civil division will arrive in India later this month.