The 80000-ton Chinese aircraft carrier Fujian recent launch serves as a sobering reminder to the Indian government that the Chinese now possess sufficient naval firepower to intervene in the Indian Ocean region and even support the expansion of its powerplay in the area, necessitating immediate action on the part of the Indian Navy to maintain its position as the dominant force in the region as it has always been.
With the launch of Fujian, China has shown that it is capable of launching an aircraft carrier of this quality in a relatively short period of time. In contrast, the building of the INS Vikrant, which is less than half the size of Fujian at 45000 tons and will only enter the Navy next month. In the event that there is a confrontation in the region, China wants to have one dedicated carrier group stationed in the Indian Ocean region and to construct four more carrier groups for the South China Sea and the Pacific.
Although the Indian Navy technically has two aircraft carriers, the worst-kept secret is that Vikramaditya, which was supplied by Russia, is a dock queen and spends much of its time being repaired and little time actually sailing. Technically speaking, Vikramaditya has only 25 years left in him, and approximately 10 of those years have already passed. Due to its approaching age and the poor modernization work done by the Russians, it may eventually be restricted to being employed exclusively as a training ship.
If the Indian government doesn’t move quickly and allow the Indian Navy to develop at least a sister class ship of Vikrant and fund the development of a conventional aircraft carrier that has a displacement of 70000 to 80000 tons, the Indian Navy’s plans to operate three aircraft carrier groups may remain a pipe dream. Considering India’s geopolitical interests in the area, having three aircraft carrier groups is crucial.