India’s aircraft carriers key to Indo-Pacific strategy | AP News
By ASHOK SHARMA and DAVID RISING
NEW DELHI (AP) — India is preparing to relaunch its INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier after a major refit, a critical step toward fulfilling its plan to deploy two carrier battle groups as it seeks to strengthen its regional maritime power to counter China’s increasing assertiveness.
The Vikramaditya, a former Soviet carrier acquired from Russia, is expected to be launched imminently and will join India’s first domestically built carrier that was launched in September, the INS Vikrant, in undergoing outfitting and sea trials, with the plan to have both fully operational later this year.
“This is significant in terms of India’s power projection capabilities, primarily within the Indian Ocean,” said Viraj Solanki, a London-based expert on Indo-Pacific defense with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“This really gives India an option to display its ability to counter China within the Indian Ocean, which is the Indian navy’s priority.”
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