Under attack from CAG for the escalating cost of second-hand aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov bought from Russia, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Thursday defended the price being paid by India for the warship.
"I can't comment on the CAG. But you all are defence analysts, can you
get me an aircraft carrier for less than USD two billion? If you can, I am going to sign a cheque right now," Mehta told reporters on the sidelines of the 'Naval Self Reliance Seminar' organised by CII.
When asked about CAG's finding that the Navy had not done its risk analysis before going in for the ship, he said, " I can ensure you that there is no such thing. There is no question, we have been looking at the ship since late 90's.
"From the time I know that we have been talking and finally in 2004, when the deal was done after two-three years of negotiations, it was done in extreme seriousness and there is no question of any laxity."
Asked if the Navy was satisfied with the services and support provided by Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Mehta said that they have to reach the OEMs through agencies and the agency sometimes might not give the job to best suited manufacturer or yard.
"So, we have a little issue with that. But we have lived with it for many years and the ships have done quite well," he said.
On increasing the range of K-15 missiles to be equipped on the nuclear submarine INS Arihant, Mehta said," All this will happen in a due course of time."
Commenting on a query about the under-performance of the naval anti-ship missiles, Mehta said, "Sea eagle missile is an ancient missile and we don't rely on it. With more indigenous capability coming in, most of these are being brought into our platforms. Whatever we have got in our inventory, they are perfectly fine missiles and with 100 per cent insurance of hits."
"By 2022, under our Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCPP), Indian Navy hopes to become a versatile three-dimensional force with over 160 ships including three aircraft carrier and submarines, more than 300 aircraft and satellite-based surveillance as well as net centric operations to provide force multiplication," he said.
The navy chief said that the Navy had also prepared a 'Science and Technology Roadmap-2025' for developing indigenous technology for naval applications.