The new Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta emphasizing reach, technology, and endurance as the important factors that would govern the next generation navy that can protect the growing economy, provide disaster relief, and ensure regional security.
Pointing out recent cases where the Navy’s reach provided immediate relief to the region such as the tsunami of Dec 2004, earthquake relief in Indonesia, and evacuation of Indians and citizens of neighboring countries from war-torn Lebanon, Mehta said that India needs ships with “longer legs” that can “reach out and sustain themselves for long periods” from home. The acquisition of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya from Russia and assault landing ship USS Trenton from the US will add a different dimension to the Navy’s capability that could influence land wars and provide disaster support.
However, Mehta stressed that expanding Navy requires better connectivity between Naval platforms so real-time information can be exchanged. Therefore, the need for maritime surveillance and connectivity through network centric operations were the most important initiatives he would introduce. These assets could be air, ship, or space based so the surveillance and communication can improve. Mehta also pointed out that this roadmap has been laid out by his predecessors and all he has to do is tweak the system.