Why India wants a bigger navy and build the ships at home

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In recent years, the focus of India’s military strategy has broadened, with a growing emphasis on building up its naval power.

India now spends up to $110 billion annually on its military, and the navy, which had been somewhat overlooked, has become an increasingly large part of its armed forces.

Last week, it bolstered its naval power with its first locally made aircraft carrier — the $3.7 billion INS Vikrant — at sea.

“The security concerns of the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region were ignored earlier, but it is our top priority today,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi said at the ship’s commissioning ceremony.

However, experts say this goal is hampered by its lack of a significant domestic arms manufacturing industry.

How is the situation in the region?

Six Navy sailors pose for a selfie on deck while wearing white dress uniforms.
Vikrant is a Sanskrit word for “powerful” or “brave”.(AP: Prakash Elamakkara)

India’s move to build up its naval power comes – not coincidentally – as China is rapidly building up its own.

Historically, land borders with Pakistan and China have been India’s biggest concern, and while they would continue to be significant, things had changed, Ashok Sharma of the ANU’s Strategic and Defense Studies Center told the ABC.

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