12:23 GMT09 August 2020
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    New Delhi: Amid the increasing presence of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Navy has added an amphibious ship which can carry 145 tons of military equipment in addition to 160 troops with a speed of over 15 kt (knot). It aims to have a fleet of 200 warships by 2027, but currently, has only 130 navy vessels.

    The MK-IV class utility landing craft will base at Port Blair under tri-service command headquarters. The amphibious ship's placement is of high strategic importance situated near the Strait of Malacca - one of the world's major maritime choke-points and a primary shipping route for Chinese vessels.

    "The LCU MK-IV class ship is capable of transporting combat equipment such as Arjun Main Battle Tanks, T72, and other Armoured Vehicles. The ship boasts state-of-the-art equipment, and advanced systems such as an Integrated Bridge System as well as an Integrated Platform Management System," India's Defense Ministry said.

    The indigenous CRN 91 Gun with stabilised optronic pedestal provides the ship with the requisite offensive capability to undertake sea patrols.

    The first LCU of this class was commissioned in March 2017. For the last three years, India has enhanced its naval capabilities at the tri-service command with the addition of a floating dock for warships, P-8i spy planes (submarine killers), and land-based long-range missile facilities.

    Last week, Indian Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh said the service is considering various options to catch up to the global ambitions of China's People's Liberation Army (Navy).

    The Indian Navy has been stepping up its modernisation plan amid the increasing presence of Chinese warships and submarines (6-8 ships at any given time) in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, challenging its dominance.

    Earlier this month, the Indian Navy invited seven global shipyards to submit proposals for the construction of six missile-bearing and smaller vessels worth $2.2 billion including the development of six conventional submarines.


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    Armata battle tank, main battle tank, amphibious ship, shipping, Strait of Malacca, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, PLA Navy, China, Indian Ocean, Indian Navy
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