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Sumit Sinha asked: What are India’s capabilities in out of area contingency Ops in terms of force levels and strategy?

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  • Ali Ahmed replies: Indian forces see their primary role as defending national territory and sovereignty. Increasingly, an out of area capability is being sought in order to progress and defend national interests resulting from stability of the global order and India's emerging economic interests such as energy security. Considerable capability for this is being developed by all three services. The Army can nominate any of its infantry formations that are not deployed to this task. It has special forces units, the paratroopers having converted to special forces role over the last decade. The Air Force has an Il 76 squadron for transportation. It has additionally acquired the Il 78 refuelling aircraft for extending fighter based air cover. The presence of Su aircraft operating from the mainland in an exercise in the A&N Command area recently indicates the reach. It is also acquiring six C130 Hercules aircraft. It may also acquire ten C 17 Globemaster aircraft. The Navy has acquired the INS Jalashwa, an amphibious landing ship from the US. Its maritime reconnaissance capability and aircraft carriers also buttress the capability.