By Pramod Buravalli

At the moment, The Indian Navy is perhaps the most forward looking and potent military force in the south East Asian region. Their foray into building a strong and capable Navy is highly appreciated! With several projects in various shipyards, naval bases achieving a high level of maturity and multiple joint initiatives with friendly navies, we are looking at a maritime force that is truly becoming strong blue water navy.

In my last article, I talked about an Indian Aerospace Force that is becoming a necessity for the aerospace spectrum of operations for the Indian military. In this one, I would like to stress on the relevance of continued strategic engagements and the need to continue building a very strong Navy.

An “Indian Maritime Force”(as I call it) should have the following main strategic ideals or like they say in naval terms “principal roles” incorporated into their doctrine:

  1. To be almost indestructible in face of total annihilation

  2. To be the diplomatic and good will extending arm of the Indian Nation.

To completely achieve the above, the following are bare necessities:

  1. A Strong Industrial base backed by uninterrupted material supplies (These facilities need to be well guarded from internal and external sabotage/aggression)

  2. A Stable and well trained maritime manpower.

  3. A continuous supply of fuel and weapons (Both are always best produced internally)

  4. Unsurpassed 3rd strike capability in terms of massive and complete retaliation.

  5. Strong Design and Construction teams that constantly come up with innovative vessels.

  6. A strong Fuel and Weapons centric R & D team. This team should be at the forefront of inventing new and alternate sources of fuel and ammunition for the IMF

  7. Strategic and deep rooted Buddhist ties need to be established with China and Japan.

  8. Full cultural, economic and military ties need to be established with Srilanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.

  9. A cordial and mutually dependable relationship needs to be developed with Indonesia, UAE, Malaysia, South Korea and South Africa.

  10. Friendly relations with Russia, USA, Europe, Brazil and Israel


From a numbers perspective, IMF should maintain a minimum of 240 combat ships and 240 aircraft divided into 6 commands. I have made an attempt to pictorially represent the structure:

Organization Chart


Legend on the chart above

  1. CBG : Carrier Battle Group

  2. SSBN : Ballistic Submarine Group

  3. Defensive Battle Group

  4. Offensive Battle Group

  5. Special Operations Battle Group

The required numbers and composition for the Battle Groups:

  1. CBG: The IMF will need a standard (Mid Sized) strike carrier of the 40,000 Ton capacity. The current Vikrant class carrier being constructed at Cochin should be the ideal test bed for future innovations in this area. This carrier should be powered by dual fuel or an indigenous nuclear fuel engine. The air complement needs to be a mix and match of several aircraft forming 2 full squadrons. The escort complement will invariably have to consist of warships, frigates, and attack submarines along with supply ships. Overall, the IMF needs 6 carriers to fully justify the concept for CBG’s.

  2. SSBN: The ATV project should be unveiled in the next 2-3 years. A full complement of 12 ATV’s need to be built over the next 20 years. These 12 ATV’s have to constitute the 6 SSBN groups within the 6 commands

  3. Defensive Battle Group: Most of the coastal engagements over the history of naval warfare have all been about protecting beaches and coastal territories. The IMF needs to develop a very strong coastal patrol and interdiction capability with fast attack stealth craft that are capable of operating in shallow waters. A very strong defensive mechanism needs to be developed that is networked to the nearest base that is designated to protect that area. This group should comprise of a large number of anti ship capable missile boats, coastal aircraft/fighters and numerous coastal missile batteries.

  4. Offensive Battle Group:  The most potent and conventional arm of the battle groups has to be the stealthiest and tactical group of all. Stealth bombers, battleships, Unmanned combat vehicles/aircraft should be the mainstay of this force. The LST’s and marine troops invariably will be the backbone of this group. A minimum of 5 brigades of naval troops should be trained for this role.

  5. Strategic Battle Group:  This is meant for special operations, covert and overt operations. The current MARCOS battalions should be fully expanded into 2-3 full brigades for naval special ops. The intelligence arm of this group needs to be fully integrated along with the capability to launch the last resort weapons in case all fails.

Summary and Conclusion

It is already known that the new naval bases at Karwar and Vishakapatnam are going to be the headquarters for the western and Eastern Naval commands. However, serious efforts need to be made to develop Cochin, Mangalore, Paradip, and Port Blair into the command headquarters for the newer commands.

Overseas bases should be established taking the friendly governments into confidence. Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and Thailand will certainly offer this facility if requested by the Indian government.

Finally, the IMF needs to be the most potent and unpredictable for an adversary.  The IMF ultimately should ensure the survivability of the Indian Nation at any or all costs.


Pramod Buravalli is Chief Technology Officer/MD-India @ TechRP Inc, USA. He may be contacted at pramodsai@hotmail.com.


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