India's military might to reach new highs in 2014

India's military might to reach new highs in 2014

India seems to have begun the New Year on a military high with Russian-origin aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which set sail from Russia over a month ago, expected to reach its home base in Karwar around January 14-15. Besides, the country has raised its first mountain strike corps in Ranchi to face the Chinese in the mountains of the North-East.

 INS Vikramaditya left Russia in the beginning of December, accompanied by destroyer INS Delhi, frigate INS Trikhand and tanker INS Depak. After they entered Arabian sea, seven more warships, including warhorse INS Viraat, joined the flotilla being commanded by Rear Admiral Anil Chawla, a former skipper of INS Viraat
The 44,500-tonne ship with 22 decks can carry over 30 aircraft like MiG 29K fighters and an assortment of helicopters like Kamov-31, Kamov-28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak.

The MiG 29K swing role fighter is the main offensive platform and will boost India’s maritime strike capability. The fourth generation air superiority fighters have a range of over 700 nautical miles and can carry anti-ship missiles, beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, guided bombs and rockets. In another development, the first flag of the 17 Corps was hoisted on January 1 in Ranchi, marking the rise of India’s first mountain strike corps. The Cabinet Committee on Security approved formation of the corps with a strength of more than 65,000 troops in July.

Though the corps is now being raised in Ranchi, it will eventually be shifted to Panagarh in West Bengal where the Army has begun the process of land acquisition to set up a corps headquarters and associated infrastructure, including a base for six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

The Defence Ministry is believed to have recently signed an agreement with the US to buy six more Lockheed Martin made C-130Js, at a price of a little over $1 billion.

While the first batch of the six C-130Js are stationed at the Hindon air base near the capital. The Indian Army at present has three strike corps at Mathura (1 corps), Ambala (2 corps) and Bhopal (21 corps), besides nine holding corps, which do not have support from engineers and has smaller armoured components.

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