INS Kalvari update

India will finally commission its first new conventional submarine in July-August after a long gap of over 17 years, while the second one will begin its sea trials off Mumbai this week. This comes as a strong booster shot for Indian Navy, which is trying to retain its traditional underwater combat edge over Pakistan, even as Chinese submarines are making regular forays into the Indian Ocean Region.

Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said INS Kalvari (tiger shark), the first of the six French diesel-electric Scorpene submarines being built under the Rs.23,652 crore “Project-75“ at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai, will be inducted into the force after extensive sea trials in July or August.

The second one, INS Khanderi, in turn is slated to begin its long sea trials from Thursday. The Navy is currently grappling with just 13 ageing conventional submarines, with just half of them operational at any given time. India also has two nuclear-powered submarines, INS Arihant and INS Chakra, but the latter does not have nuclear tipped ballistic missiles because it has been acquired on lease from Russia.

The Scorpene project has, of course, faced huge time and cost overruns. INS Kalvari, for instance, was to be ready by 2012, with the other five coming by 2017.Now, with the third submarine INS Vela to be “launched“ later this year, all the six will be inducted by 2020 or so.

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