Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 1
Faced with a belligerent China, India has launched its project to build six more nuclear-powered submarines. The nuclear power will allow them greater endurance under sea as the submarines need not surface to ‘breathe’.
Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, while replying to a question, said on Friday, “We have launched the project to make six SSNs (nuclear-powered submarines) and I will not say any further as it’s a classified project.”
Addressing a press conference ahead of the Navy Day (December 4), Admiral Lanba, on being asked about the threat from Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean under the garb of anti-piracy patrols, said, “For a sub it’s an odd task to be on anti-piracy patrol. We have carried out threat assessment of PLA (People's Liberation Army) submarines.”
PLA subs are coming for two deployments every year. This pattern is on since 2013.
In yet another hint at how India is challenging China, the Admiral said, “We are deployed 24x7 in key areas in the Gulf of Aden to straits of Malacca besides the straits of Sunda and Lumbok.” These are the ingress and egress routes to the Indian Ocean.
Speaking on induction of new assets as per Navy perspective plan, he said 34 ships are under construction. Work on indigenous aircraft carrier is going on and hopefully it would join the navy in 2020-end.
He said, “We have identified Rs 40,000 crore worth of projects for Indian private shipyards. We have made significant progress at Karwar (south of Goa). The next phase of project Seabird at Karwarhas has commenced that will accommodate more number of ships submarines.”
Commenting on the recent navy-to-navy agreement with Singapore, the Admiral said, “Why do you link every bilateral to China.”
“We are looking at other countries for logistics agreement like Singapore and have started taking fuel at sea from the US three months ago at the Gulf of Aden,” he said.
Speaking about the controversy in the Russian media that a US team boarded the INS Chakra, the nuclear-powered submarine, he said, “No American has even seen it from close quarters.”
The submarine is on lease from Russia.
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