War on the Rocks – India’s strategic community was in a frenzy last month after USS John Paul Jones carried out a freedom of navigation exercise near India’s Lakshadweep Islands. Indian observers were mystified by the timing of maneuver, coming as it did at a moment when U.S.-Indian relations are on a high. The disquiet in New Delhi was compounded by a U.S. 7th Fleet press release that said the operation was carried out in India’s exclusive economic zone “without requesting India’s prior consent” to assert “navigational rights and freedoms”—language that many Indian observers saw as needlessly provocative.
Naval News – 5 years after she was commissioned in 2016, the Indian Navy’s INS Arihant remains something of an enigma. Her existence is no secret, in fact it is a proud achievement of Indian industry. But photographs are very few. And nearly all those you will find on the internet are many years old. It is a very secretive submarine program.
Mumbai Mirror – The Indian Navy has been tasked with delivering oxygen to the country.
Naval News – The Indian Navy today commissioned INS Karanj, its third Scorpene-class submarine. Karanj follows INS Kalvari and INS Khanderi. Three more submarines of the class will join the Indian Navy fleet as part of P-75 program.
StrategyPage – India has completed the complex process of purchasing M90FR maritime gas turbine engines from Ukraine and delivery of these engines to a Russian shipyard that is building two of the four advanced P-17 “stealth” Talwar class frigates for India.
UPI – India’s navy received its ninth P-8i surveillance aircraft on Wednesday. The plane is the first delivered under an option contract, signed in 2016, for four additional aircraft, the remaining three of which are expected to arrive in 2021.
USNI News – The U.S., Indian, Japanese and Australian navies on Tuesday kicked off the Malabar 2020 naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal, bringing the four nations together for the annual drill for the first time in over a decade.
War Zone – India says that it has successfully tested a new supersonic anti-submarine missile. This missile carries a lightweight torpedo as its warhead and releases it over the designated target area, after which that weapon operates as normal and uses its own guidance system to seek out the enemy submarine. Dubbed the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo, or SMART, this could give Indian warships, and potentially shore-based units, a valuable additional stand-off tool in the face of growing submarine threats from adversaries, especially China.
CIMSEC – Paradoxically, though COVID-19 has weakened India’s economic ability to fund its naval infrastructure and assets program for the Indian Ocean, it has enabled India to strengthen its links with Indian Ocean micro-states through the humanitarian assistance delivered by the navy. Meanwhile, land confrontation with China at Galwan has encouraged India to deepen its military links with other maritime powers operating in the Indian Ocean. In an unstated but evident balancing fashion, this is enabling India to improve its maritime position in the Indian Ocean vis-à-vis China.
– US Naval War College Review – While some security arrangements exist in the Indo-Pacific, there is no overall regional security architecture, geopolitical headwinds are causing existing arrangements to wobble, and loose groupings of countries are emerging either to strengthen or to weaken those arrangements. India’s strategic stakes are growing, but it faces capacity and capability issues that impose prioritization constraints.
– War on the Rocks – As India and Australia prepare for a virtual summit next month between prime ministers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a possible strategic initiative could involve the cooperative use of their respective island territories in the Indian Ocean for strategic purposes. India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands are well positioned to offer significant advantages for both countries.
– Breaking Defense – The Indian and US governments were in such a hurry to get sub-hunting US helicopters into the hands of the Indian navy that the Americans gave up some of their own helicopters to fill a rushed delivery early next year.
– Indian Defense Research Wing – Russia has communicated an offer of selling three old Kilo-class hulls for the Indian Navy to tide over its shortfall of conventional submarines. The $1.8 billion “three plus three” arrangement bundles refits of three of India’s Kilo-class submarines with an additional three old Russian navy Kilo-class hulls.
(Thanks to Alain)
– Naval News – An Indian Navy P-8I Neptune Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) visited Reunion Island to train with the French Air Force and Navy based on the island, known as “FAZSOI”.
– Defense News – India on Wednesday cleared the purchase of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R naval multirole helicopters through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
– CIMSEC – The annual Raisina Dialogue, hosted by India since 2016, is useful for highlighting the process of maritime strategic convergence between Australia, France, India, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. The Raisina Dialogue was initially set up by India as a high-level forum for international discussion. Tellingly, Chinese officials have never been invited.
– Naval News – The progress on the construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-P71) project was reviewed by Indian Defence Secretary, Shri Ajay Kumar.
– Defense News – The Indian Navy hit a major milestone in its quest for a home-grown carrier-based fighter aircraft. A prototype of a naval version of India’s Tejas light combat aircraft performed an arrested landing on board the carrier Vikramaditya in the Arabian Sea.
– The Hill – Many take an interest in the Indian Ocean. For example, both Britain and France have vowed to mount a frequent, if not standing, naval presence in the Indo-Pacific to help offset Chinese and Russian ambitions. And let’s not forget India, a budding titan that regards itself as the Indian Ocean region’s benevolent overseer.
– War Zone – The India-specific design would need significant changes, but using a known ship as a starting place makes the offer very attractive.
– Defense News – India on Thursday signed a $3 billion contract for the lease of an Akula-1 class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia for a period of 10 years.
– War on the Rocks – After INS Arihant, India’s first ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), finished its maiden deterrent patrol in November 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphatically declared India’s nuclear triad complete. Arihant’s operationalization has catapulted India into a select group of states with an underwater nuclear launch capability. It has also raised alarm over the safety and security of India’s nuclear arsenal because a sea-based deterrent may entail a ready-to-use arsenal and less restrictive command and control procedures, increasing probability of their accidental use. For Pakistan, India’s nuclear force modernization endangers the balance of strategic forces in the region and could intensify the nuclear arms race on the subcontinent.
– USNI News – An Indian Navy UH-3H helicopter touched down on San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) in late December, marking the first such cross-decking between the two navies and the realization of an agreement made more than a year ago.
– USNI News – When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced earlier this month that the Indian Navy had completed its first sea-based nuclear deterrent patrol it was more of a statement of intent than a demonstration of a new capability.
– USNI News – The U.S. Navy is hosting naval forces from India and Japan in Guam for the annual Malabar Exercise, set to start Thursday in the Philippine Sea.