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Quin holds talks with India’s defence minister

The talks between Quin and Singh took place days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson agreed on a new and expanded India-UK defence partnership…reports Asian Lite News

British Minister of Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin held talks with India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday focusing on bilateral cooperation in areas such as aviation and shipbuilding.

“Had a wonderful meeting with the UK Minister of Defence Procurement, Mr. Jeremy Quin. We discussed the opportunities available in areas pertaining to aviation, ship building and other defence industrial programmes for both the countries,” Singh tweeted.

The talks between Quin and Singh took place days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson agreed on a new and expanded India-UK defence partnership.

During his visit to India last week, Johnson announced that the UK is creating an Open General Export Licence (OGEL) for India to “reduce bureaucracy and slashing delivery times” for defence procurement and that London will help New Delhi in the co-development of military hardware including indigenous production of fighter jets.

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Rajnath writes to Mamata, Stalin over tableau controversy

In his letter to both the leaders, Rajnath Singh stated that of the 29 proposals from states and union territories, 12 were accepted, reports Asian Lite News

Putting an end to politics of tableau ahead of the Republic day parade, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart M.K. Stalin explaining the reasons for rejection of their states’ tableaux.

Politics of tableau heated up after the Centre rejected the proposals of Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu tableaux in the Republic Day parade. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention after the Centre rejected her state’s Republic Day tableaux on Subhas Chandra Bose.

In his letter to both the leaders, Rajnath Singh stated that of the 29 proposals from states and union territories, 12 were accepted.

Tableaux Delhi state and others State take part in Republic Day full dress parade rehearsal, at Rajpath in New Delhi, India on Saturday, January 23, 2021. (Source: IANS)

Singh said: “I would like to bring to your kind attention that there exists a well established system for selection of tableaux for participation in the Republic Day Parade, as per which Ministry of Defence invites proposals for tableaux from all States/UTs and Central Ministries/Departments.”

The minister said that tableaux proposals received from various States/UTs and Central Ministries/Departments are evaluated in a series of meetings of the Expert Committee comprising eminent persons in the field of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography etc.

“The Expert Committee examines the proposals on the basis of theme, concept, design and its visual impact before making its recommendations. As per the time slot allotted for tableaux in overall duration of the parade, short listing of tableaux is done by the Expert Committee.”

He told Banerjee that West Bengal tableaux were part of 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021 parades.

Nandi, Naga, Ganesha, Lepakshi to feature in AP’s tableaux (Source: IANS)

He also said that the government has celebrated 2018 Republic Day in honour of Subhas Chandra Bose and this year also the Republic Day celebrations will begin from January 23 marking his 125th birth anniversary.

To Stalin, Singh explained, “The tableaux from the State Government of Tamil Nadu was considered in the first three rounds of meetings. After the third round of meeting, the tableaux could not make it to the final list of 12 selected for participation in the RDP-2022.”

Singh told Stalin that Tamil Nadu had representation in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Republic Day parades.

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New India will give befitting reply to adversaries: Rajnath

The defence minister was at Shaheed Samman Yatra in honour of 232 war martyrs of Pithoragarh. The yatra will head from Pithoragarh to Dehradun from where 232 brave hearts gave their lives…reports Asian Lite News.

The ‘new and powerful India’ will give befitting reply to adversaries and will retaliate against any efforts made by them to destabilise peace in the nation, said Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday.

While addressing Shaheed Samman Yatra in Pithoragarh, Singh said that Pakistan makes all efforts to destabilise peace in India but India has sent a clear message to them that we will hit back.

Without naming China, Singh said that there is another neighbour who does not seem to understand things. Hailing Kumaon battalion, he said that he was told 114 jawans, who were martyred, killed over 1,200 Chinese soldiers.

“I went to Rezang La where I was told about the miracle done by 124 jawans of Kumaon battalion. It can never be forgotten. I was told that 114 jawans were martyred, but they killed over 1,200 Chinese soldiers,” Singh said. The defence minister went to Rezang La on November 18.

The defence minister was at Shaheed Samman Yatra in honour of 232 war martyrs of Pithoragarh. The yatra will head from Pithoragarh to Dehradun from where 232 brave hearts gave their lives.

Singh asserted that India wants good ties with its neighbours and has never attacked any country. “India never occupied a foreign territory. Having good ties with neighbours has been India’s culture but some people don’t understand this,” Singh said.

Talking about Pakistan, the minister said that India has given a clear message on the western border that if it crosses its limits, it will just not retaliate on the borders but can even cross over into its territory and do surgical and airstrikes.

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India determined to protect its maritime interests: Rajnath Singh

He emphasised on the need for an efficient, cooperative and collaborative harnessing of the region’s maritime potential for sustaining a steady path to prosperity, said the Ministry of Defence…reports Asian Lite News.

India is fully determined to protect its maritime interests, while it supports the maintenance of rule-based maritime systems, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.

“India is committed to respecting the rights of all nations as laid down in the UN Convention on the Law of Seas (UNCLOS), 1982. We are fully determined to protect the legitimate rights and interests of our country in relation to our territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, while supporting the maintenance of rule-based maritime systems, as mandated under UNCLOS, 1982,” he said.

Singh was delivering the keynote address at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) 2021, being held virtually from October 27-29.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s description of the Indo-Pacific as a natural region, where destinies of entities are interlinked, Singh said, the seas are a vital communication link to facilitate transport of goods, exchange of ideas, catalysing innovations and contributing to bringing the world closer.

“Although the Indo-Pacific is characterised by diversity, marked by a multiplicity of cultures, ethnicities, economic models, governance systems and varied aspirations, the oceans remain a common binding link,” he pointed out.

He emphasised on the need for an efficient, cooperative and collaborative harnessing of the region’s maritime potential for sustaining a steady path to prosperity, said the Ministry of Defence.

According to the Defence Minister, while the seas offer abundant opportunities for sustenance and growth of the mankind, they pose challenges such as terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and climate change.

He called for a cooperative response to these challenges which, he said, has considerable trans-national implications. “There is a need to find convergence of interests and commonality of purpose on maritime issues,” he said.

Sharing his views on the broad theme of IPRD 2021, ‘Evolution in Maritime Strategy during the 21st Century: Imperatives, Challenges and Way Ahead’, Singh said, it dwells upon the region’s past, gauges the present and then arrives at tenets that will form the foundation of maritime strategies for the future.

First conducted in 2018, the IPRD is the apex international annual conference of the Indian Navy and is the principal manifestation of the Navy’s engagement at the strategic-level. The National Maritime Foundation is the Navy’s knowledge partner and chief organiser of each edition of this annual event. The aim of each successive edition is to review both opportunities and challenges that arise within the Indo-Pacific.

Under the broad theme, the IPRD 2021 will focus on eight specific sub-themes. These are:

* Evolving Maritime Strategies within the Indo-Pacific: Convergences, Divergences, Expectations and Apprehensions.

* Adaptive Strategies to Address the Impact of Climate Change upon Maritime Security.

* Port-led Regional Maritime Connectivity and Development Strategies.

* Cooperative Maritime Domain Awareness Strategies.

* Impact of the Increasing Recourse to Lawfare upon a Rules-based Indo-Pacific Maritime Order.

* Strategies to Promote Regional Public-Private Maritime Partnerships.

* Energy-Insecurity and Mitigating Strategies.

* Strategies to Address the Manned-Unmanned Conundrum at Sea.

Panel-discussions on these sub-themes would be spread over eight sessions on three successive days, thereby providing ample scope for varied perspectives to be considered. The aim is to encourage a free flow of ideas and views.

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, former Chief of the Naval Staff and Chairman, National Maritime Foundation Admiral Sunil Lanba (Retd), domain experts and policy makers of different countries were present virtually during the inaugural session.

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India needs strong navy for national development, says Rajnath

He urged Indian Navy to maintain the momentum achieved thus far and assured that the steps taken by the government will give it more strength to increase the lethal strike capability…reports Asian Lite News.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday stressed on the need to have a strong Navy due to the country’s increasing dependence on the seas for national development, and for proactive engagement with the world.

Speaking on the last day of the four-day (October 18-21) Naval Commanders’ Conference, he praised Indian Navy to have lived up to expectations of the nation by establishing a visible, credible and responsive presence in the Indian Ocean Region.

He also complimented Indian Navy for providing medical aid to South West Indian Ocean Region countries, as part of Mission SAGAR which is in lines with PM Narendra Modi’s clarion call for Security And Growth for All in the Region; undertaking various HADR Operations in the wake of natural calamities; and providing succour to civil populace during the second wave of COVID-19.

The Defence Minister highlighted that Indian Navy has spent more than two-thirds of the Modernisation Budget in the last five years towards indigenous procurement and out of 41 ships and submarines ordered by the Navy, 39 are from Indian shipyards, which is a testament to the Navy’s commitment to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

He urged Indian Navy to maintain the momentum achieved thus far and assured that the steps taken by the government will give it more strength to increase the lethal strike capability.

Rajnath Singh emphasized that P75(I) project would be one of the largest ‘Make in India’ projects and complemented Indian Navy on the successful maiden Sea Trials of the indigenously designed and built Aircraft Carrier ‘Vikrant’ by overcoming challenges, including COVID related imponderables.

The Defence Minister also highlighted training as an effective tool in bolstering naval diplomacy and commended the Indian Navy in providing training to foreign personnel in India for more than four decades.

Further, in keeping with the evolving technological transformation world over in unmanned systems, an Integrated Unmanned Roadmap for Indian Navy was also promulgated by the Defence Minister during the conference. (India News Network)

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Defence Ministry approves proposals worth Rs 13,165 crore

Of the total amount approved, procurement worth Rs 11,486 crore (87 percent) is from domestic sources…reports Asian Lite News.

The Defence Ministry approved proposals including for Advanced Light Helicopters, guided munition and rocket ammunition valued at Rs 13,165 crore on Wednesday.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in its meeting held under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for Capital Acquisitions proposals for modernization and operational needs of the Indian Armed Forces amounting to approximately Rs 13,165 cr.

Of the total amount approved, procurement worth Rs 11,486 crore (87 percent) is from domestic sources.

Key approvals include helicopters, guided munition and rocket ammunition.

Looking into the need of the Indian Army for an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Squadron to improve its integral lift capability to ensure its operational preparedness, the DAC accorded approval of procurement of 25 LH Mark III helicopters from HAL under Buy Indian-IDDMA at an approximate cost of Rs 3,850 crore in keeping with the continued thrust towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self Reliant India) and ‘Make in India’.

Giving a boost to Indigenous Design and Development of ammunition, the DAC accorded approval for procurement of Terminally Guided Munition (TGM) and HEPF/RHE Rocket Ammunition under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category at an approximate cost of Rs 4,962 crore from domestic sources.

Other proposals worth Rs 4,353 crore were also accorded AoN by the DAC.

In addition, the DAC also approved a few amendments to the DAP 2020 as a part of Business Process Re-engineering to ensure further ease of doing business for the industry as well as measures to enhance procurement efficiency and reduce timelines.

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Over 1 lakh crore allocated to DRDO for modernization of defence

The Minister informed the House that this is an increase of Rs 21, 415.41crore (23.78%) over BE 2020-21 allocations…reports Asian Lite News.

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been allocated over 1 lakh crore to boost development of state-of-the-art platforms, weapon systems and sensors in the country, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Monday.

An amount of Rs 1,11,463.21 crore has been allocated under the Capital Acquisition Head (Modernisation) of Defence Services in BE 2021-22, he said.

The Minister informed the House that this is an increase of Rs 21, 415.41crore (23.78%) over BE 2020-21 allocations.

He further informed that DRDO has taken projects, for development of Products/Systems, in various technology domains.

Some of them are Missiles Systems, Airborne Early Warning & Surveillance, Fighter Aircrafts, Armoured Fighting Vehicles, Bridging and Mining Systems, Guided Munitions, Artillery Guns & Rockets, Small Arms & Ammunitions, Advanced Torpedoes & Advanced Sonar Suite, Electronic Warfare (EW), Long Range Radars, and Artificial Intelligence based Systems among others.

Under the Make in India project, the Minister informed that many significant projects including 155mm Artillery Gun system ‘Dhanush’, Bridge Laying Tank, Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, ‘Akash’ Surface to Air Missile system, Submarine ‘INS Kalvari’, Inshore Patrol Vessel, Offshore Surveillance Ship, ‘INS Chennai’, Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette (ASWC), Arjun Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle, Landing Craft Utility, Bridge Laying Tank, Bi-Modular Charge System (BMCS) for 155mm Ammunition, Thermal Imaging Sight Mark-II for T-72 tank, 25 T Tugs, Water Jet Fast Attack Craft, Offshore Patrol Vessel, Fast Interceptor Boat, INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, Medium Bullet Proof Vehicle (MBPV), Lakshya Parachute for Pilotless Target Aircraft, etc. have been produced in last few years.

Further, the Minister said that the central government has taken several policy initiatives and brought reforms to promote self-reliance in defence manufacturing. These policy initiatives are aimed at encouraging indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment in the country, thereby reducing dependency on imports in the long run.

Listing the policy initiatives, the Minister in the reply to the Upper House of the parliament, said that DPP-2016 has been revised as Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)- 2020, which is driven by the tenets of Defence Reforms announced as part of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’.

He noted that in order to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ category has been accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment.

Further, the Minister highlighted that the Ministry of Defence has notified two ‘Positive indigenisation lists’ of 209 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This would offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture listed items using their own design and development capabilities to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces, he said.

He said that the ‘Make’ Procedure of capital procurement has been simplified. There is a provision for funding upto 70% of development cost by the Government to Indian industry under Make-IN category. In addition, there are specific reservations for MSMEs under the ‘Make’ procedure.

Procedure for ‘Make-II’ category (Industry funded), introduced in DPP-2016 to encourage indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment has a number of industry friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry /individual etc. So far, 58 projects relating to Army, Navy & Air Force, have been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’, the Minister said.

The Minister recalled that the Government has approved enhanced delegation of Financial Powers under Capital Procurement to levels below the Vice-Chief of Armed Forces in February, 2021. The Government has also approved enhanced delegation of Financial Powers in the Make-I category under which public funding up to 70% of the prototype development cost is available for Design & Development of equipment, systems, major platforms or upgrades thereof.

The Government of India has enhanced FDI in Defence Sector up to 74% through the Automatic Route and up to 100% by the Government Route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.

He told the House that the government has established two Defence Industrial Corridors, one each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The investments of Rs 20,000 Cr are planned in Defence corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by year 2024.

So far, investment of approx. Rs 3342 crore have been made in both the corridors by public as well private sector companies. Moreover, the respective State Governments have also published their Aerospace & Defence Policies to attract private players as well as foreign companies including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in these two corridors.

An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on “Mutual Cooperation in Joint Manufacturing of Spares, Components, Aggregates and other material related to Russian/Soviet Origin Arms and Defence Equipment” was signed in September, 2019.

The objective of the IGA is to enhance the “After Sales Support” and operational availability of Russian origin equipment currently in service in Indian Armed Forces by organizing production of spares and components in the territory of India by Indian Industry by way of creation of Joint Ventures/Partnership with Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) under the framework of the “Make in India” initiative.

Defence Products list requiring Industrial License has been rationalised and manufacture of most of parts or components does not require Industrial License. The initial validity of the Industrial Licence granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 03 years on a case-to-case basis.

The Minister said that the Department of Defence Production has notified 46 items under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017 notified by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), for which there is sufficient local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value.

Defence Investor Cell (DIC) was created in February 2018 in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedures and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector. So far, 1182 queries have been addressed by DIC, the minister said in his reply.

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India won’t forget sacrifice of Army in Galwan: Rajnath

India is always prepared to give a befitting reply if provoked, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh…reports Asian Lite News

Lauding the exemplary courage displayed by the Indian Army during the Galwan Valley incident in June last year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said the country will never forget their sacrifice.

Singh stated that India is a peace-loving nation that never resorts to any kind of aggression, but at the same time, it is always prepared to give a befitting reply if provoked.

He was interacting with the officers and jawans of Indian Army’s 14 Corps at Karu Military Station on the second day of his three-day visit to Ladakh.

“Delighted to meet the brave and valiant soldiers of the Indian Army at Karu in Ladakh today. I salute their courage and fortitude,” Singh said on Twitter.

Rajnath Singh at the Karu Military Station in Ladakh on Monday. (Source Twitter @rajnathsingh)

On the night of June 15, 2020, 20 men from the Indian Army were killed in action during a violent face-off with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley area. A large number of Chinese soldiers had also died, though China has never released the number of casualties.

Providing details about his address, the Ministry of Defence said Singh reiterated the Government’s stand of resolving disputes through dialogue with neighbouring countries.

He, however, assured the nation that “safety and security of the nation will not be compromised at any cost”. (INN)

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Rajnath inaugurates 63 bridges in big boost to border areas

The bridges, constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), include a 50-metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma Road in Ladakh….reports Asian Lite News

In a major boost to connectivity in India’s border areas, 63 bridges in six states and two Union Territories (UTs) were inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday.

The bridges, constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), include a 50-metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma Road in Ladakh.

The crucial Leh-Loma Road, which connects Leh with places such as Chumathang, Hanley and Tso Morori Lake, is vital for access to forward areas in Eastern Ladakh, the Ministry of Defence said.

This single span steel super structure bridge, which replaces an existing bailey bridge, will ensure unhindered movement of heavy weapon systems, including guns, tanks and other specialised equipment.

Sixty-two more bridges were inaugurated virtually by Defence Miniser Singh. Of these, 11 are in Ladakh, four in Jammu & Kashmir, three in Himachal Pradesh, six in Uttarakhand, eight in Sikkim, one each in Nagaland and Manipur and 29 in Arunachal Pradesh.

With the inauguration of 63 bridges in one go, BRO has surpassed its own record of 44 bridges launched in 2020, the defence ministry pointed out.

Pic credits Twitter@rajnathsingh

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These 63 bridges, combined with 12 roads dedicated to the nation by Defence Minister Singh on June 17, form a bouquet of 75 infrastructure projects completed by BRO, when the nation is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Independence.

Underlining the importance of connectivity, especially in border areas for the development of a nation, the Defence Minister reaffirmed the Government’s resolve to ensure infrastructure development in far-flung border areas.

Singh added that today’s inauguration of 63 bridges was an important step in that direction. He expressed confidence that the bridges will play a crucial role in strengthening security as well as promoting the economic development of the respective states through improved connectivity.

The projects were inaugurated by the Defence Minister at an event held at Kyungam, 88 kms from Leh, the capital of Ladakh.

Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur, Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, General Officer-Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt Gen YK Joshi, DG Border Roads Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry and other senior civil & military officials from Ministry of Defence, Indian Army, BRO and civil administration were present.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang; Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region & Minister of State, PMO Jitendra Singh; MP from Jammu & Kashmir Jugal Kishore Sharma, MP from Uttarakhand Ajay Tamta and MP from Mizoram C Lalrosanga were among those who attended the event virtually. (INN)

ALSO READ: Rajnath reviews Project Seabird at Karwar base

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Rajnath reviews Project Seabird at Karwar base

The Karwal base visit will give the defence minister a first hand update of the infrastructure project important for future operations on the western front…reports Asian Lite News.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday reviewed the country’s largest naval infrastructure project — Project Seabird at Karwar Naval Base in Karnataka.

He will also review construction of indigenous aircraft carrier in Kochi.

Singh left New Delhi on a two day visit to Karwar and Kochi earlier in the day.

“Shall review the ongoing infrastructure development at Karwar and also the progress of construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) at Kochi. Looking forward to this visit,” tweeted Defence Minister before leaving for Karwar.

Both the projects are extremely critical for Indian Navy’s capabilities and strategy in future.

The Karwal base visit will give the defence minister a first hand update of the infrastructure project important for future operations on the western front.

The first phase of the naval base called Operation Seabird was completed in 2005 and the second phase started in 2011. A 3,000 feet long runway, docking space for 30 warships, hangars for aircraft are part of the Rs 19,000 core project spread over 11,000 acres of land.

At Kochi, he will review construction of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant which has faced many delays since work started on it in 2009.

An additional aircraft carrier is key in wake of growing Chinese forays in the Indian Ocean Region. While INS Vikrant awaits completion even after 11 years since work on it started, China’s first indigenous carrier was commissioned in 2018 within 3 years of starting construction.

India currently has INS Vikaramditya as the only operational aircraft carrier while INS Vikrant is under construction and the Indian Navy has been pressing for the third one but faces resistance from the government and military planners.

Vikrant is in an advanced stage and is expected to sea trials soon and be fully ready by later 2022 or early 2023.

After Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Virat was decommissioned it is left with one functional carrier.

On the other hand the Chinese Navy has two functional aircraft carriers with a third one expected to hit the seas soon but will take a while for it to be fully operational and a fourth one is also in the pipeline.

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