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India to add 56 warships, six submarines to naval fleet

By
Elizabeth Shim
India’s first Scorpene submarine, INS Kalvari, was deployed last year as part of a larger effort to strengthen the nation’s naval fleet. File Photo by Divyakant Solanki/EPA
India’s first Scorpene submarine, INS Kalvari, was deployed last year as part of a larger effort to strengthen the nation’s naval fleet. File Photo by Divyakant Solanki/EPA

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- India is planning to introduce a fleet of 56 warships and six submarines as part of a larger effort to strengthen its naval fleet in the face of an expansionist China, according to Indian news media.

Times News Network, a news agency of the Times of India, reported Tuesday the Indian navy wants to strengthen its defenses. New ships are part of a 10-year plan that includes the construction of India's third aircraft carrier, according to the Economic Times of India.

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The Indian navy currently retains 140 warships and 220 aircraft. More than 30 ships are also under construction.

Indian Navy Chief Adm. Sunil Lanba said the new weapons could serve distinct roles in waters surrounding India.

"A submarine is for 'sea denial,' while a carrier battle group is for sea control. Carrier battle groups will enhance the navy's role in the [Indian Ocean Region]," Lanba said, according to the Economic Times.

Lanba said India has the advantage or "balance of power" over Chinese naval forces in the Indian Ocean but that China holds the advantage in the South China Sea.

India is also making progress on three helicopter projects and new submarines. A second Scorpene-class submarine, Khanderi, is being prepared for commission after the first sub, INS Kalvari, was deployed last December.

India's navy has been active in 2018, conducting 20 exercises with partner countries, according to reports.

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