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Rajnath Singh Surveys India’s Undersea Might In 4-hour Submarine Sortie

India building up military might as a guarantee of peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region, says Defence Minister

Photo Credit : Indian Navy

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh accompanied by the Indian Navy top brass on the conning tower of the Indian Navy submarine, INS Khanderi, off Karwar in the Arabian Sea

If rides on fighter aircraft and submarines are milestones and defining photo opportunities in tenures of Defence Ministers, particularly in terms of associating with the armed forces they direct, Rajnath Singh has now covered the spectrum and been-there-done-that all. 

He’s ridden a jet fighter. He’s moved on tanks in the desert and on tracked howitzers in Ladakh. He’s surveyed the might of the Indian Naval fleet from the aircraft carrier. On May 27, India’s Defence Minister filled in the missing piece with a four-hour sortie in the Indian Navy’s most modern submarine, INS Khanderi, the second of India’s Scorpene class diesel-electric attack submarines which he himself commissioned in September 2019. 

The Indian Navy now operates four Scorpene class submarines, all built at Mumbai’s Mazagon Dock with transfer of technology from France’s Naval Group. The class of submarines is named after INS Kalvari, the first of these submarines, four of which have already been inducted into the Indian Navy and the remaining two on order are scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2023. 

The Defence Minister took his maiden submarine sortie during his visit to the Karwar naval base. “For over four hours, the full spectrum of capabilities of underwater operations of the stealth submarine was demonstrated to Shri Rajnath Singh,” the Indian Navy announced in a statement, adding that “the Raksha Mantri  (Defence Minister) was given a first-hand insight into the combat capabilities and offensive strength of the state-of-the-art Kalvari class submarine”. 

With the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar by his side, the Defence Minister witnessed a wide range of operational drills with the submarine demonstrating the advanced sensor suite, combat system and weapon capability which provides it a distinct advantage in the subsurface domain. The day-at-sea also provided him a glimpse of the submarine’s capability to effectively counter anti-submarine operations by an adversary, the Navy statement elaborated.

After the sortie, Singh complimented the crew of the submarine for carrying out operations in a challenging environment and the Indian Navy for maintaining a high state of readiness and offensive capability to address any threat in the maritime domain. He termed Indian Navy as a modern, potent and credible force, capable of being vigilant, valiant and victorious in all situations. “Today, Indian Navy is counted among the frontline navies of the world. Today, the world’s largest maritime forces are ready to work and cooperate with India,” he said.

The Defence Minister described ‘INS Khanderi’ as a shining example of the ‘Make in India’ capabilities of the country, pointing out that 39 of the 41 ships/submarines ordered by the Indian Navy are being built in Indian shipyards

On the commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’, Singh said, it will bolster the maritime security of the country, along with INS Vikramaditya. He, however, assured that the preparations being made by the Indian Navy are not a provocation to any aggression, but a guarantee of peace and security in the Indian Ocean region.

The operational sortie was accompanied by the deployment of ships of the Western Fleet, an anti-submarine mission sortie by a P-8I MPA and Sea King helicopter, a fly past by MiG 29-K fighters and a search & rescue capability demonstration.

“With this, the Raksha Mantri has now witnessed first-hand the three-dimensional combat capability of Indian Navy, after having embarked INS Vikramaditya in September 2019 and conducted a sortie on the P8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft earlier this month,” the Indian Navy stated.

The Scorpene submarines are potent platforms. These have advanced stealth features and are equipped with both long range guided torpedoes as well as anti-ship missiles. These submarines have a state-of-the-art SONAR and sensor suite, giving it contemporary capabilities for undersea warfare.

The induction of these submarines have significantly enhanced Indian Navy’s underwater capability in the Indian Ocean Region.