In one of the biggest demonstrations of its operational prowess in recent years, the Indian Navy on Saturday carried out a mission in the Arabian Sea that involved two aircraft carriers, multiple warships, submarines and over 35 frontline planes amid China’s increasing forays into the Indian Ocean.
The Navy’s aircraft carriers — INS Vikramaditya and newly inducted INS Vikrant — were the centrepieces of the exercise and the two platforms served as floating airfields for a wide array of aircraft, including MiG-29K and helicopters such as MH60R, Kamov and Advanced Light helicopters, officials said.
“The exercise marks a significant milestone in the Indian Navy’s pursuit of enhancing maritime security and power-projection in the Indian Ocean, and beyond, ” Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
He said the exercise involved a seamless integration of two aircraft carriers along with a diverse fleet of ships, submarines and aircraft, showcasing India’s technological expertise in the maritime domain.
“This demonstration of naval prowess underscores India’s commitment to safeguarding its national interests, maintaining regional stability, and fostering cooperative partnerships in the maritime domain,” Commander Madhwal said.
It is the first mega exercise involving the two aircraft carriers after induction of the indigenously-built INS Vikrant in September.
Officials said almost all air assets of the Navy operated from the two aircraft carriers and they operated as mobile bases.
The exercise demonstrated that INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya can be positioned anywhere, allowing for increased mission flexibility, timely response to emerging threats and sustained air operations to safeguard national interests across the globe, they said.
“In addition, they provide our friends with an assurance that the Indian Navy is capable and ready to support our ‘collective’ security needs in the region,” said Commander Madhwal.
“The successful demonstration of two-carrier battle group operations serves as a powerful testament to the pivotal role of sea-based air power in maintaining maritime superiority,” he said.
“As India continues to strengthen its security apparatus, the significance of aircraft carriers will remain paramount in shaping the nation’s defence strategy and promoting regional stability,” Commander Madhwal said.