New Delhi, 16
analyst Sayan Mazumdar has made out a case for increasing the Naval
Marine Commando force.
NAVY REQUIRES MORE MARINE COMMANDOS
investitature ceremeony held on 11th March in the Rashtrapati Bhavan
saw two Naval Marine Commandos being decorated for bravery in
action in the lakes of Kashmir –– one received the Vir Chakra.
Speak to any one who took part in OP Pawan in Sri Lanka and they
will praise the Naval Commandos. In fact the Seaking 42C Helicopters
of the IN are meant for Commando action and so the Indian Navy is
definitely poised for increasing its Commando strength and like all
big Navies should have a larger Marine Force. There is a realisation
that marine commandos can perform very daring jobs in peace and war
and in case of terrorism can be used ashore also.
Indian Navy also organised a Seminar at the India International
Centre on Marine Archeology and the seminar ended with the theme of
Naval Future in the Indian Ocean and the speaker was the C in C
Pacific. In the fifteen year plan of the Indian Navy to go from 135
ships to 195, there will be need for its budgets to be supported and
signs are that this will be the case.
Defence Budget of 2003–04 has been comparatively favourable to the
Navy, thanks to our Finance Minister. The Krivak class frigates will
shortly be commissioned and the projected induction of 'Admiral
Gorshkov' along with Type 971M Akula II class nuclear powered
submarines and Tupolev-22M3 'Backfire' reconnaissance bombers will
propel the Indian Navy to become a major power in and around the
is good to note the presence of an area air defence SAM (Surface to
Air Missile) system on the Krivaks and the projected 'Project 17'
frigates, a tradition commenced by the Dutch 'Jacob Van Heemskerk'
class and French 'Cassard' class destroyer/frigates. If this year's
naval budget is some indication of "financial years to
follow" it appears that the 'Cinderella' of Indian Armed Forces
may at last get its due recognition. However the Navy should claim
substantially more funds to raise a strong Marine Force similar in
structure and strength to the United Kingdom Royal Marines, for
undertaking extensive amphibious operations on enemy beachheads and
to undertake Special Operations, as these activities are bound to
assume great significance in years to come.
least one dedicated multipurpose assault ship capable of embarking
V/STOL (Vertical/Short Take Off and Landing) strike fighters and
assault helicopters/gunships is required for sustained ship to shore
offensive operations. In this context the possible sale of Royal
Navy HMS Invincible V/STOL carrier makes sense. The ship also has
extensive command and control facilities to act as the command
platform of any amphibious operations. The Navy will additionally
need at least two LPD (Landing Platform Docks) similar to Russian
14,000 ton plus Ivan Rogov class 'Mitrofan Moskalenko' or French
11,880 ton 'Foudre'. The objective should be to embark
battalion-sized marines at various strategic points along with their
equipment, armour and vehicles at a "short notice" and
disperse them quickly from the landing or DZ (Dropping Zone) before
any adequate enemy response. This nucleus force should be supported
by an adequate number of landing vessels and platforms like
"Roll-on Roll-off" vessels and LSTs (Landing Ship Tank).
Political treaties should provide us access to distant bases for
amassing propositioned stocks at strategic points.
forces of dedicated airborne platforms in support of amphibious
operations need to be raised. This should predominantly comprise of
V/STOL fighters, helicopter gunships in addition to assault
helicopters. "Slower" IFR (In-Flight Refuelling) tankers
capable of refuelling assault helicopters need to be inducted. In
United States armed forces service this role is fulfilled by an IFR
version of Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules. The Marines of Indian
Navy should receive higher level of training at par with Special
Forces and should conduct frequent joint-exercises with the Marine
Forces of United States and Europe. If possible, they should
"invite" deployment to global "hot-spots" as
part of multinational forces to gain combat experience. Notably the
Italian small but efficient 'San Marco' Marine battalion has amassed
huge reputation by following these procedures. It is logical to
assume that if this force in terms of extensive equipment and
capability was already existent during the Indian Airlines
high-jacking/hostage crisis of December 1999 when terrorists were
released in exchange of passengers, the outcome could have been much