Amid heightened tensions with China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India’s maritime posturing in the IOR serves as a national security determiner

India is all set to relaunch INS Vikramaditya, a former Soviet carrier acquired from Russia following a major refit. The relaunch of the aircraft carrier is part of a critical step by India toward fulfilling its plan to deploy two carrier battle groups in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The development is significant for India’s attempts to strengthen its regional maritime power and counter China’s increasing assertiveness in the region

INS Vikramaditya is expected to be launched imminently and will join India’s first indigenously built carrier, the INS Vikrant which was launched last year in September and is currently undergoing outfitting and sea trials. The Indian Navy plans to have both aircraft carriers fully operational by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the relaunch of INS Vikramaditya is significant in terms of the Indian Navy’s capabilities of power projection in the IOR.

INS Vikramaditya: An important Asset For The Indian Navy

In the current geopolitical landscape and amid heightened tensions with China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India’s maritime posturing in the Indian Ocean Region not only serves as a national security determiner but also holds a strategic significance. Meanwhile, INS Vikramaditya serves as an important asset for the Indian Navy.

Airborne Capability: The INS Vikramaditya is capable of carrying and supporting a range of aircraft, including fighter jets, helicopter gunships, and early warning aircraft. This gives the Indian Navy airborne capability, which is essential for maritime operations, including air defence, anti-submarine warfare, and power projection.

Increased Operational Reach: The INS Vikramaditya is one of the largest warships in the Indian Navy and has a substantial operational reach. The ship can be deployed in a range of theatres and can support a wide range of maritime operations, including counter-piracy, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime security operations.

Enhanced Regional Stability: The commissioning of INS Vikramaditya has been seen as a demonstration of India's growing maritime power and its ability to acquire and operate advanced military technologies. This has helped to enhance regional stability and support India's role as a major player in the Indo-Pacific region.

Joint Operations With Other Navies: The INS Vikramaditya has participated in joint exercises with other navies, including the US Navy and the Russian Navy. This has helped to build interoperability and enhance cooperation between navies, which is important for promoting regional stability and security.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-Navy) has been engaged in the expansion and modernization of its fleet for more than a decade. Notably, it now possesses the world’s largest navy. Furthermore, China launched its first domestically designed aircraft carrier in June last year as part of a program to extend its navy’s range and power. Moreover, China deployed its surveillance vessel 'Yuan Wang 5' in the Indian Ocean Region in August 2022, raising security concerns in New Delhi. Considering these developments, INS Vikramaditya will play a key role in supporting Indian Navy’s operational capabilities and enhancing its contribution to regional stability and security.