India's Nuclear Submarine Base

India’s first ever naval base for nuclear submarines is coming up at Rambilli near Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and its first phase, costing Rs 1,500 crore, will be operational by 2011. Aircraft carriers and bigger ships will also be berthed at the Rambilli naval base, 50 kms south of Vishakhapatnam. The Rambilli base is India’s answer to China’s underground nuclear submarine base at Sanya off Hainan Island. Though the Rambilli base is not underground the way Sanya base is, the boats here will be invisible to prying eyes of the enemy and its activities will remain off the satellite imagery network. Rambilli will allow submarines to enter and leave the facility while submerged and, therefore, away from the prying eyes of spy satellites. The Rambilli base will be an important strategic asset for India. China has inked a pact with Islamabad to use Pakistan’s Gwadar naval base which has been constructed with the Chinese financial and manpower assistance. Besides, China has been using Myanmar’s facilities to set up an electronic eaves dropping centre on the Coco Islands to monitor movements of the Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal. India does not have a nuclear submarine as of now.
Its indigenous nuclear submarine, known as ATV (Advanced Technology Vessel), is expected to be complete by next year.Russia is leasing at least one nuclear attack submarine, known as Akula II SSN, to India at a cost of several million dollars per month. ATV’s construction may to be completed by next year after which its sea trials and tests will begin. Though based on Russian technology, ATV is Indian designed and built. India plans to have five ATVs in its arsenal.
The Russian Akula will primarily serve as a training boat for India’s new nuclear submarine force. China’s Sanya naval base can house as many as 20 nuclear submarines. Beijing has been constructing the base for the past six years as part of its strategy to challenge US naval dominance in the Pacific Ocean and Asia, and to be able to project Beijing’s power in the region and beyond.

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