#DefenseDiaries: Indian Navy's submarine arm celebrates golden jubilee
On December 8, 2017, the Indian Navy's submarine arm celebrated its golden jubilee. President Ram Nath Kovind awarded Presidential Colours to the submarine arm at the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Vishakhapatnam, to mark the occasion. Kovind praised it for its exemplary service towards the protection of the nation. In this timeline, we trace the submarine arm's glorious 50-year history.
President Kovind hails Indian Navy's submarine arm
How India first acquired submarines
Post-Independence, the Indian government turned down the Indian Navy's calls for acquiring submarine platforms. After two decades of persistence, the Indian Navy finally got its submarine arm with the commissioning of the INS Kalvari, a Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine, on December 8, 1967. From 1967 to 1974, the IN commissioned four Kalvari-class and four advanced Foxtrot Vela-class submarines.
Foxtrots proved their worth in 1971 Indo-Pak war
During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, the IN's submarines had been actively deployed in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. "Their presence achieved the desired deterrent effect and restricted the enemy operation at sea to a considerable extent," the Ministry of Defense notes.
IN gets first modern submarines in arsenal
In 1981, the IN signed an agreement with Germany's HDW to buy four Type 209 diesel-electric submarines, dubbed Shishumar-class by the IN. Of these, two were constructed at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai. Plans to acquire two more submarines of this class were shelved because of the HDW scam. The four Shishumar-class submarines have undergone refits and modernized. They continue to serve the IN.
Silent Kilo-class vessels form bulk IN's submarine arm
In 1984, India signed an agreement for the purchase of six Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines dubbed Sindhughosh-class by the IN. Four more were ordered in later years. These submarines, all built in Russia, are renowned for being highly automated and extremely stealthy. They have undergone various refits and upgrades. Sadly, one of the submarines, INS Sindhurakshak, suffered a catastrophic accident in 2013 and was decommissioned.
India is commissioning 6 Scorpene-class submarines
In 2005, the Indian government signed a contract with France for the construction of six highly advanced and stealthy Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines. The construction of these submarines, dubbed Kalvari-class, by MDL in Mumbai and have faced years of delays. The first submarine of this class, INS Kalvari, will reportedly be commissioned by PM Narendra Modi on December 14.
Submarine arm enters nuclear age
The IN's submarine arm entered the nuclear age when India leased Charlie-class Soviet nuclear-powered submarine, dubbed INS Chakra, from 1988-91. In 2012, India leased a Russian Akula-II nuclear attack submarine for 10-years. India has also reportedly commissioned INS Arihant, the nation's first and only nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. The Arihant was indigenously developed and constructed. India is building three more nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.
Lagging behind China, India looks to boost submarine arm
Currently, the IN has 15 submarines while the Chinese Navy has over 60 submarines. India is looking to boost its submarine numbers. In February 2015, the government approved the construction of six nuclear-powered attack submarines worth $9.5 billion. On July 21, India initiated a program to build advanced six Project 75(I) submarines worth $5 billion. India has requested proposals from six foreign manufacturers.