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A country's power is derived from its military capability. A country's military capability also determines its capability to exert influence on global scale.
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian armed forces. The primary objective of the Navy is to secure the maritime borders. India also uses its Navy to enhance its foreign relations. In recent years, the Indian Navy has undergone considerable modernization to replace aging equipment currently in service. One such modernization is, replacing the aging INS Viraat aircraft-carrier with INS Vikramaditya.
INS Vikramaditya is a modified Kiev class aircraft carrier built by the former Soviet Union during the cold war period. INS Vikramaditya is the new name for Admiral Gorshkov. The Admiral Gorshkov entered service in 1987, but was deactivated in 1996 because it was too expensive to operate on a post-cold war budget. This attracted the attention of India, which was looking for a way to expand its carrier aviation facilities. After a series of negotiations, India and Russia signed a deal in 2004 for the sale of this ship. The announced delivery date for INS Vikramaditya was August 2008, but with issues compounded by the ongoing cost overruns for upgrading the ship, its induction in to the Navy is scheduled on December 4, 2012. INS Vikramaditya is equipped with MiG-29K Fulcrum fighters and Kamov anti-submarine helicopters.
The Dock trails of INS Vikramaditya were began in March 2011, to test the main power generation units and radio-electric armament. Indian navy personal also began their training in December 2011. On April 19, 2012, it was announced that all internal systems are functioning and the ship was entirely self-contained. The sea trails for INS Vikramaditya were begun on 8th June, 2012, which are scheduled for 120 days.
Indian Navy's long term objective is to be able to respond to emergent situations far away from main land. The 'String of Pearls' theory of China and increasing Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean may put India at a military disadvantage. So India needs to develop a grand strategy to counter the Chinese aggression in the Indian Ocean. INS Vikramaditya will have to play a crucial role in achieving this objective.
INS Vikramaditya, like any other aircraft carrier, will increase the reconnaissance radius drastically. In war situations, using aircraft carriers navy can send aircrafts to destroy enemy ships before they come within the range of the ships. Aircraft carrier is essentially a moving air base with aircrafts, which can provide air cover to the fleet. With a stronger navy India can increase its influence on maritime countries. INS Vikramaditya with Kamov anti-submarine helicopters provides the Indian navy also a tactical advantage against sub-marines, which cannot fire back on helicopters.
To conclude, induction of INS Vikramaditya will significantly increase the overall effectiveness of the Indian Navy. This will be a milestone in the road map of the Indian Navy, to become a Blue-water navy.