On the occasion of Indian Navy Day 2022, in an exclusive interaction with Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief, SP’s Naval Forces, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, defines the overarching vision of the Indian Navy that drives all their endeavours
SP’s Naval Forces (SP’s): Last year, you had mentioned the Navy is working on a roadmap for unmanned systems. Please can you share an update on the same?
Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS): The Integrated Unmanned Roadmap was released by the Defence Minister in October 2021. It provides a comprehensive unmanned systems roadmap in consonance with Indian Navy’s concept of operations and is a guiding document for capability development for unmanned systems from 2021-2030. To align industry and requirement of the Navy, Indian Navy (IN) Vision Document for Unmanned Systems was released by the Prime Minister on July 18, 2022 during the Swavlamban seminar. This document provides details of unmanned systems that the IN envisages to induct by 2030. The focus of the document is to provide guidance as a capability development document to industry partners to synchronise their development efforts in line with requirements of the Indian Navy.
SP’s: What all Indian Navy does to boost the morale and towards the welfare of its human resource, its sailors and their families?
CNS: Our Human Resource is the major force enabler of the Indian Navy and thus is undoubtedly our most valuable asset. Towards boosting the morale and welfare of the Human Resource, we in the Indian Navy have incorporated the SHIPS FIRST approach in our functioning. The ‘H’ signifying ‘Happy Personnel’ in SHIPS FIRST highlights the focus of the Indian Navy to meet the welfare of our personnel. Further, all units of the Indian Navy operate under the concept of Divisional System and as a cohesive unit. This time tested and robust system ensures that all personnel of the unit work as a motivated and taut team. All HR related issues are thus addressed through the Divisional system. Additionally, various policies and directives are in force to ensure the welfare of the families of Naval personnel so that continuous steadfast support is available for the men in uniform from the near and dear ones.
SP’s: What is your vision for the Indian Navy, in terms of
CNS: As the principal manifestation of India’s maritime power, the Indian Navy plays a central role in safeguarding and promoting India’s security and national interests in the maritime domain. The overall vision of the Indian Navy remains to be a ‘Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof’ Force. This overarching vision drives all our endeavours.
First, Projection in front of the World. Our vision in this regard straddles multiple Lines of Efforts – focused on a broad trinity of remaining the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ and ‘First Responder’, while concurrently enabling ‘Collective Maritime Competence’.
“We work towards enhancing capability of friends in the Region. We have so far gifted/leased 11 ships/ boats, five aircraft, one submarine and have trained over 15,000 personnel from 46 countries.”
“As a ‘Blue-water force’, considering the vast area of operations, operational philosophy centered on sea control and growing threat in the IOR, the Indian Navy has a requirement of three operational aircraft carriers”
Second, Combat Capabilities. Our vision is to remain a multi-dimensional, multispectrum networked force in order to fulfill our responsibilities across our doctrinal roles, viz., Military, Diplomatic, Constabulary, and Benign. While we have a credible force level, as we move forward, it is our endeavour to retain sustained focus on enhancing our capabilities and capacities, with primary focus on ‘Ordnance on Target’. This ‘ordnance-centricity’ is the central driver to refining our capability perspective plans. In this endeavour, we are guided by the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, since reliance on external sources places evident limitations on our options, particularly in the evolving complex geo-political scenario. This will also ensure that our supply chains are not disrupted as a fallout of global events. Towards this end, our focus is on ‘Made in India, and Made exclusively for India’ security solutions. The Navy’s ‘Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation’ (NIIO), launched in August 2020, and the Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC), have taken significant strides to foster Aatmanirbharta in the field of Defence. To synergise our Atmanirbharta initiatives, we are following an all-encompassing endeavour called SPRINT (Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through iDEX, NIIO and TDAC) - a single window for exchanging ideas, innovating, and inducting cutting edge technology.
As we move towards a 100 per cent Atmanirbhar Indian Navy, we remain cognisant of the long lead time and high investment costs. We continuously assess the threat environment and technological trends, to identify the major thrust areas and required critical capabilities. Few of the major thrust areas that have been identified include, Maritime Domain Awareness, Network Centric Operations, Power Projection and Sea Control, Joint Operations, New and Evolving Technologies, etc.
The Navy understands that we are an aspirational growing power, where military budgets will obviously be balanced against developmental, social, and welfare oriented imperatives. Therefore, we look at maximising budget allocation through a detailed capability perspective plan, that brings out exactly what is needed, how much is needed and by when. This ensures that we remain well equipped to tackle the envisaged threats. The sum total of meticulous planning and prudent spending is that the Navy remains Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future-Proof, as our budget is translated into desired capabilities and capacities.
Third, Human Resources. Our vision is to enable transformational Reforms in Human Resources towards being a ‘Cohesive’ and ‘Future Proof’ Force. The Indian Navy maintains a highly motivated force. Our men and women remain at the core of all our endeavours, and the Indian Navy lays highest priority on developing its human resources into ‘human capital’. The concept of People, Assets and Combat Efficiency (PACE) will remain central to the reforms in human resource development. Towards this, the most significant have been the Agnipath Scheme and induction of women across all ranks. While Agnipath is a transformational initiative for the Armed Forces, it will also play a vital role in the growth, prosperity and transformation of our Nation. As a steady stream of trained, disciplined and motivated young Agniveers, having completed their Service, join the national workforce, the benefits to society and Country will become evident through their contribution to nation building. Coming to induction of women across all ranks. Women are already undertaking diverse roles and shouldering responsibilities in the Navy, including combat roles. Today, there are 28 women officers who are posted onboard frontline warships of the Indian Navy. Moreover, it is the first time that we have permitted induction of women under the Agnipath scheme. Up to 20 per cent of the initial batch of Agniveers will be women, assigned to various branches in the Indian Navy. We, therefore, would need to be fully prepared in all respects to induct and absorb women across a wide spectrum of roles and responsibilities.
SP’s: Can you please indicate on the status of P-75(I) programme?
CNS: The RFP for the Project-75(I) has been issued to the two Indian Applicant Companies viz MDL and L&T on July 20, 2021. The case is being progressed as per the guidelines of the Strategic Partnership Model defined in the Defence Procurement Procedures. The bidders had raised certain concerns on some clauses of the RFP and the same have been resolved by minor changes to the RFP. The amendments have been issued to the Bidders post approval by the DAC. Post receipt of the response to the RFP, the process of Technical Evaluation and Commercial Negotiations will follow.
SP’s: The Indian Navy has been, historically, largely self-reliant in terms of achieving its modernisation goals and capabilities using majority of indigenous resources. In view of the recent push by Government of India towards Atmanirbharta
(a): What all are the initiatives?
(b): Which all are the areas, Navy is pursuing further?
SP’s: Now that the IAC-1, INS Vikrant has been inducted and is sailing in the waters, what is your vision for Navy’s aircraft carriers’ strength? Also in view of the fact that Chinese Navy (PLAN) operates 4 active aircraft carriers?
CNS: As a ‘Blue-water force’, considering the vast area of operations, operational philosophy centered on sea control and growing threat in the IOR, the IN has a requirement of three operational aircraft carriers. This is also important towards sustaining our Maritime Dominance in all three geographical expanse of the Indian Ocean Region.
Towards countering emerging challenges in the Maritime domain, it is important to achieve a balanced ‘force mix’ for undertaking Roles, Missions and Objectives in our primary and secondary areas of interest, and also facilitate Out-of-Area Operations, which is being addresses in our Perspective Plans.