The procurement of additional fighter jets should not be delayed any further and a final decision needs to be taken on having a third aircraft carrier, said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in its report tabled in the House today.
The committee said, “In no uncertain words, (we) recommend that Ministry of Defence may take a final decision, chalk out a trajectory and start the planning process for the third aircraft carrier which would eventually enhance India’s maritime capabilities.”
The committee said it found “considerable delay” in the supply of 40 TEJAS jets from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. “The government should consider buying state-of-the-art fifth generation fighter aircraft over the counter without losing time to keep the force in a comfortable position,” the committee said.
The committee said requests of the Navy in regard to manufacturing a third aircraft carrier have been brought up several times. Two aircraft carriers are consistently required for meeting threat perceptions and for preparedness and striking capabilities during war. The third is needed as carriers have long maintenance schedules.
The induction of an aircraft carrier is a long gestation exercise and the entire budget for a carrier is not required in a particular year but in a staggered manner which may be spread out over a decade.