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How is India slowly asserting itself below the ocean surface? The importance of submarines


New Delhi, July 02: Submarines play a major role in a country's naval strategy. In the context of India, China is flexing its muscles in the Indian Ocean region, and that has forced India to invest heavily in submarines.

Submarines, as platform of weapons delivery, are unique. They can remain submerged under the ocean surface for months and deal a devastating blow to the enemy when the need be. The value of a ballistic missile nuclear submarine as a strategic asset is immense. The ability to launch a nuclear strike from the depths of the ocean has advantages over the strike capabilities from land and air-based delivery platforms.

How is India slowly asserting itself below the ocean surface? The importance of submarines

The successful deterrence patrol by INS Arihant last year significantly changed India's strategic position in the world. With it India truly achieved a Nuclear Triad or the ability to fire nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles from land, sea or air.

In May this year, India launched the fourth of six planned Scorpene-class (Kalvari-class) diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) for the Indian Navy.

India has in recent times seems to have realised in the strategic importance of submarines and in June this year the government took a big step towards opening up a second production line for advanced diesel-electric submarines for the Indian Navy.

How INS Arihant will significantly change India's strategic position?

The Indian Navy currently operates 14 conventionally powered submarines and is in the process of inducting five more. Indian Navy is also keen on Project 75-I. India will purchase 6 next generation diesel submarines with Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology for the Indian Navy by 2022.

What by 2030?

According to reports in defence publications, People's Liberation Army Navy is working towards having ninety-nine submarines, four aircraft carriers, 102 destroyers and frigates, twenty-six corvettes, seventy-three amphibious ships and 111 missile crafts by 2030. India is wary of it and diverting its resources to have a formidable fleet in the waters.

India has recently begun pouring enormous resources into its naval service, and as a result by 2030 could have one of the top five navies on the planet.

Considering that India is located in a hostile neighbourhood, a Nuclear Triad is a must as it acts as a credible deterrence. No country wants war, but then if it comes to that a nation ought to be prepared to retaliate effectively to ward off the enemy. The fact that India has nuclear weapons that can be fired from different platforms acts as a deterrence and keeps the enemies at bay.

We must keep in mind that India's defence and strategic planning are not exactly Pakistan-centric. The efforts are aimed at being able to fight what is called a 'two-front war' and India has always been wary of growing proximity between Beijing and Islamabad.

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