New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Discussions are on within the Indian Navy over the second aircraft carrier planned to be built in the country and it is likely to approach the government with a proposal in another two to three months, a senior Navy officer said on Tuesday.
Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition Vice Admiral D.M. Deshpande noted that there is a “bit of question mark” from the Defence Ministry’s side due to the huge cost involved but added that there was a lot of “positivity”.
“Lots of discussions are right now on within the Navy what type of an aircraft carrier we want, right from the tonnage, type of propulsion… We are debating on this. Once this debate is more or less within the Navy… we are clear on exactly what we want, we will take up this case with the ministry,” he said at the curtain-raiser event of seminar ‘Building India’s Future Navy’, set to be organised by industry chamber Ficci on May 31-June 1.
Deshpande said everyone wanted to be clear on the “requirement” before a final decision is taken.
“Right now there is a bit of question mark from the ministry’s side because we have taken this up with the ministry on a few occasions… it is a huge ticket decision, and before some commitments are made on allocation of these funds everybody wants to be very clear on the requirements… these are being addressed before we take that up with the government for final clearance,” he said.
He said there was “positivity”, but added that the “big ticket” aircraft carrier will come at the expense of other things.
“There is lot of positivity, both from government side as well as from the Navy. I am sure within two-to-three months, we should be able to take it up with the ministry to get the funds. It is a very big ticket item, it will have to be at the expense of things, we need to take these calls before we can go about doing it,” he said.
India at present has only one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya — a modified Russian Kiev-class aircraft carrier.
The other aircraft carrier — INS Viraat, a British-built ship serving with the Indian Navy and the oldest carrier in service — retired on March 6.
India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, a 40,000-tonne ship, is meanwhile being built for the Indian Navy by Cochin Shipyard.
India at any time requires three aircraft carriers, one each on the east and west coasts, and a third one as a replacement for any of the ships that go for refit.
On May 13, 2015, the Defence Acquisition Council cleared construction of a second aircraft carrier and Rs 30 crore was allotted for the preparations.
The second indigenous aircraft carrier is likely to be nuclear-propelled.