Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Monday launched 'Himgiri', the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) - built first Project 17A Stealth frigate in Kolkata. While addressing the media after the launch of the ship, CDS Rawat was asked whether India should have more submarines or procure another aircraft carrier, to which he said that "both have their advantages and disadvantages."

'We Will Take A Call': CDS Rawat

"Submarines have a separate place in naval warfare, in the domination of the seas, and so does an aircraft carrier," he said, maintaining that the Navy needs an air wing. "Yes, it needs an Air wing. But how to manage it and how to ensure the security and sanctity of our sea lines of communication we are thinking about," he said.

"The country needs to utilise its large number of island territories for strengthening security along the sea lanes of communication," CDS Rawat said. He also said that islands can be an option for launching naval strike aircraft. "Once we have studied all that and understood in detail, we will take a call," he asserted.

Rawat said that the three forces -- Army, Navy and Air Force -- will be integrated while retaining the niche capabilities of each service. "We strongly believe that no single force or no single service can succeed in any conflict situation if we are to face conflict with our adversaries anywhere -- whether it is land, air or sea," he said.

Navy Chief Pitches For Third Aircraft Carrier

A third aircraft carrier for India is "absolutely necessary" to further expand its maritime prowess, and it will be in sync with the country's aspiration to become a USD 5 trillion economy, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh had said on December 3.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the Navy Day on December 4, Admiral Singh said the Navy was moving forward with its plan to have a third aircraft carrier and will place a case for it before the government after collecting all required technical details. "We have not yet gone to the government for the third aircraft carrier. But we are very clear about the utility of the aircraft carrier. Because the air operations are absolutely integral in naval operations. Air power at sea is absolutely important," he said.

The Navy has been pitching for three aircraft carriers to deal with China's growing naval prowess and its growing influence over the Indian Ocean region. At present, India has only one aircraft carrier -- INS Vikramaditya which is a Russian origin platform. Indigenously built aircraft carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant is expected to be fully operational by 2022.