India plans to have two aircraft carriers, both equipped with modern fighter-bombers and anti-submarine helicopters, by 2012. The first carrier, entering service in 2008, is a refurbished, 40,000 ton carrier from Russia. This one will cost $1.5 billion, but will provide India with a lot of technology it will use to build another, 37,000 ton, carrier. This one will enter service in 2012 and will cost about $800 million. India will operate navalized MiG-29 fighters on both carriers. These aircraft will have the most modern electronics and missiles. With these two carriers, India will dominate the Indian Ocean and the southwest Pacific. The total coast of this new carrier aviation capability will run close to $5 billion, once the cost of escorts, training, support ships, and shore facilities, are included.Gee, I don't think so. It will make them a formidable presence and a power that countries like Australia, Pakistan and others might be troubled by, but ... two aircraft carriers will not be a challenge to the US fleet. Now, if the tea leaves are suggesting that the US is working with India to counter the Chinese growth and the US is encouraging this increase in naval power, then...that's a horse of a different color.
Update: An interesting thread on the relation between the US and India and the "containment" of China at Dawns Early Light, this at Winds of Change and this article from DefenceIndia cited by WInds of Change. Hat tip to: tdaxp.
Update2: Lots of good posts on the US-India relationship, including Publius Pundit which, not too surprisingly also points out that energy supplies - in this case natural gas - are also in the picture. And there are links to others, taking a look developing foreign policy initiatives in a changing world, such as Bill Roggio at the Fourth Rail in his Great Games post.