At 70, Indian Navy is self-reliant, shipshape

Context

This article explains achievements made by Indian Navy after Independence

In news

Navy day is observed on 4th of December every year to celebrate the magnificence, achievements and role of the naval force to the country.

Story behind Navy Day Celebration

Operation Trident and the follow-up Operation Python were offensive operations launched by the Indian Navy on Pakistan’s port city of Karachi during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Operation Trident saw the first use of anti-ship missiles in combat in the region. The operation was conducted on the night of 4–5 December and inflicted heavy damage on Pakistani vessels and facilities.

Background

  • In 1971, the Port of Karachi housed the headquarters of the Pakistan Navy and almost its entire fleet was based in Karachi Harbour. Since Karachi was also the hub of Pakistan’s maritime trade, a blockade would be disastrous for Pakistan’s economy. The security of Karachi Harbour was predominant to the Pakistani High Command and it was heavily defended against any air or naval strikes.
  • Towards the end of 1971, there were rising tensions between India and Pakistan, and after Pakistan declared a national emergency on 23 November, the Indian Navy deployed three Vidyut-class missile boats in the vicinity of Okha, near Karachi, to carry out patrols.
  • As the Pakistani fleet would also be operating in the same waters, the Indian Navy set a demarcation line which ships in their fleet would not cross.
  • Later this deployment proved to be useful for gaining experience in the region’s waters. On 3 December, after Pakistan attacked Indian airfields along the border, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 officially began

Indian Navy achievement after Independence

  • The Indian Navy was an exceedingly small force at the dawn of independence and, while being a product of both its British inheritance and the maritime DNA of our forebears, is largely a post-independence construct.
  • As early as 1948, it drew up ambitious plans for a balanced navy that would consist of light aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers, cruisers, auxiliaries and associated training and maintenance infrastructure.
  • Seen against this backdrop, the Indian Navy has grown quietly but steadily. From a force of less than half a dozen sloops to one that has 135 ships and 235 aircraft, most of them state-of-the-art, is indeed an impressive story.
  • During the Kargil conflict in 1999 and later during Op Parakram, the Indian Navy by its offensive posturing bottled the Pakistani ships inside their harbours and effectively kept the war localised and the situation on even keel. Similarly, Indian Navy’s role in Operation Pawan, our prolonged engagement in Sri Lanka, has not got the attention it, arguably, deserved
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