Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on indicated on Monday that the Indian Navy may not get approval for a third aircraft carrier anytime soon as the priority is to expand its submarine fleet.
General Rawat, who has been tasked to prioritise military procurement, said cost could be a major factor in deciding on the issue as aircraft carriers are "very expensive".
"The Navy says its submarine fleet is dwindling. Then submarine should be our priority," General Rawat told journalists while talking about steps being taken to ensure synergy among the three services.
At present, the Indian Navy has one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which is a Russian origin platform. Indigenously built aircraft carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant is expected to be fully operational by 2022.
"We will see how it (INS Vikrant) comes out. We will examine the performance," General Rawat said when asked whether India have a third aircraft carrier.
General Rawat also said that India is looking at having overseas military bases to provide logistics support to its ships and vessels as it expands its maritime presence.
In December, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said the plan is to have three aircraft carriers so that two carrier battle groups are ready for deployment in the Indian Ocean Region round-the-clock.
The Navy has been pitching for three aircraft carriers to deal with China's growing naval prowess and its growing influence over the Indian Ocean region, a strategically key area for India.