India’s Carrier Ambitions

India announced it would begin building a homegrown aircraft carrier. Given the porous state of India’s defense procurement system, I’ll believe it when I see it. The rule of thumb with carriers is that having one means having none, due to the downtime during scheduled drydocks. India already has one, which means they need a second one to shore up their invesment.

This could just be a negotiating ploy in its ongoing dispute with Russian over a refitted Russian carrier. If not, look for China, which has been making noises about building a carrier for some time, to respond in kind. For both, building a carrier seems like overkill for their actual maritime needs, which involve securing commercial shipping lanes through the Indian Ocean more than force projection. But they come with a prestige factor both countries find attractive.