A Brahmos missile is launched from the INS Kolkata on Saturday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Feb. 14: The Indian Navy is operating two carrier battlegroups for the first time in decades, testing capabilities of operating with a nuclear submarine and firing land-attack and anti-ship missiles in its largest war game that will continue till mid-March.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar today returned to Goa after embarking the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier from where he was given a glimpse of the new assets and capabilities of operating both the western and eastern fleet of the navy that were networked through a dedicated satellite.
The INS Kolkata, the navy's latest destroyer, also fired a Brahmos missile for the first time today, hitting the designated target. The navy warships are deployed all along the west coast and even near Mauritius and the Maldives for the Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (Tropex).
"The two completely networked fleets of the Indian Navy - the eastern and the western - were kept widely dispersed across seas in the Indian Ocean, operating in a dense electronic environment to match their professional and technical proficiency," said navy spokesperson Captain D.K. Sharma.
More than 40 surface combatants of various classes including the two aircraft carriers (Vikramaditya and Viraat), submarines including the INS Chakra, MiG29K carrier-borne fighter jets, P8i maritime surveillance aircraft of the navy along with Indian Air Force aircraft assigned to maritime strike roles - Sukhois, Mirages and Jaguars - are involved in the Tropex 2015. The exercise takes place every year but the current edition is the most complex and largest.
"The Indian Navy must remain a superior force in the Indian Ocean Region and the government will give all support to the navy so that it becomes a truly blue-water navy," said Parrikar, addressing sailors and officers.
The minister of state for defence, Rao Inderjit Singh, the navy chief, Admiral Robin Dhowan, and the Goa chief minister, Laxmikant Parsekar, also spent a night at sea on board the Vikramaditya.