Defence spending has continued to rise over the years, with the Indian defence budget (excluding pensions) expected to increase from $67.5bn in 2024 to $89bn in 2028, reflecting a CAGR of 7.2% over the period 2024-28, according to GlobalData.
India’s ongoing defence modernisation programmes are geared towards maintaining a robust deterrence capability in light of ongoing territorial disputes with neighbouring countries.
In February 2020, the Indian Navy placed an urgent order for 24 MH-60R Seahawk Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopters, with the possibility of additional orders in the near future. The Indian Navy is also investing in augmenting its surface fleet.
The INS Vikrant aircraft carrier, initially set to enter service in 2021, was delayed and finally commissioned on September 2, 2022. Similarly, of the four P-15B destroyers, two have been commissioned, with the remaining two expected to enter service some time in 2023 and 2024.
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The Indian Navy has a close defence relationship with Russia, as evidenced by the leasing of three Russian Akula nuclear submarines in 2019. However, increasing instances of Indo-China frontier clashes have compelled India to maintain robust defence spending.
The Indian Navy is anticipated to construct six nuclear attack submarines over the next 15 years, with each submarine expected to displace up to 6,000 tonnes and cost around $2.12bn. However, the Indian Navy’s submarine arm has fallen behind relative to its potential adversaries, particularly in light of Pakistan’s anticipated receipt of eight Yuan class AIP submarines, GlobalData’s “India Defense Market 2023-2028” reports.
In addition, the Project 18-class next generation destroyers are being developed as a replacement for the aging Rajput-class guided missile destroyers, with the Indian Navy expected to induct between five and ten vessels over the coming decade.
These destroyers are anticipated to have a displacement of 14,000 tonnes, making them the second largest warship constructed in Indian shipyards after the INS Vikrant. Preliminary estimates suggest a length of 185m, beam of 25m, and a draft of 7.5m, according to the Defense report from GlobalData.