In the years that followed, I became increasingly aware of the way that India’s submarine fleet had grown in size and complexity over the past few decades.
Submarine, submarine, submarine…
The country’s submarine force has been deployed across the globe in order to protect India’s coastline, maritime borders and territorial integrity.
It’s a force that is largely invisible in our headlines, but which has contributed significantly to the country’s military power.
A new article in this month’s NDTV magazine brings together the latest research and analysis on India’s fleet of submarines and shows how their role in the Indo-Pacific has changed over the years.
The first submarine to be deployed by India was the Bharat Ratna-class INS Kalaikunda, launched in 1964, that was built to replace the Indian Navy’s older and more expensive aircraft carrier INS Sindhurakshak in a “super-capability” mission.
This submarine is also a world first.
Submarines also have a reputation for being difficult to operate, especially with the threat of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in the area.
But even in these challenging operational environments, submarines have been able to provide invaluable support in the face of the ever-increasing threat posed by cyber-attacks, drones and other threats.
In the decades since, India has built up a highly capable submarine force with a range of capabilities and capabilities that are now deployed in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere in the region.
This has allowed India to keep pace with its growing maritime ambitions.
In 2015, India was able to deploy a fifth generation submarine, INS Sindhu, that would be capable of carrying up to eight aircraft and up to six subs.
The submarine, which has an estimated age of 50 years, was fitted with the world’s first digital sensor suite and its advanced anti-radiation system, which is capable of detecting and neutralising a wide range of threats.
It is currently under construction at a naval facility in New Delhi.
In 2017, India successfully tested the fifth generation INS Javelin, a powerful missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads, in the waters off the coast of Pakistan.
While the Indian fleet has grown in complexity, its operational role has remained the same.
Submarine units are deployed in support of the Navy in its maritime patrols and in a number of other operational roles.
These include the maritime security (MSS) and coastal defence (CDR) fleets, along with a fleet of surface ships.
While these fleets are not yet fully operational, they provide valuable capability to the Navy and are part of the core of India’s deterrence and defence.
While India has also developed its fleet of advanced maritime patrol aircraft (AMACs), these are currently deployed only for air patrols and are not part of India, as the country is yet to build a fully operational air-to, sea and land-based fleet of these aircraft.
The Indian Navy has also been active in a variety of other maritime security and maritime defence activities.
India has deployed a new class of stealth aircraft, the Advanced Advanced Strike Aircraft (AASA), in the Gulf of Aden.
In 2018, the Navy completed its second successful mission of a stealth fighter, the F-35, in this area.
The Navy also has a squadron of Rafale fighters that are being upgraded to take on a variety to the Chinese air force.
While submarines have played a role in many of these maritime security, defence and defence-related activities, their role is most visible in the role they play in countering China’s maritime presence in the South China Sea.
The South China Seas, which are also claimed by both India and China, have become a major focus of regional disputes over territorial disputes.
In 2016, India launched a major patrol in the Spratly Islands, in which it claimed exclusive control of about four-fifths of the South Pacific archipelago.
It also claimed a group of islands in the Paracel chain that are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
In response, China launched several maritime surveillance patrols along the coastlines of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
In response to these patrols, India deployed an aircraft carrier group in the vicinity of the disputed Paracels.
While Indian forces have been conducting operations in the North East, the Indian naval fleet has been conducting patrols in the Bay of Bengal, which lies to the east of the Sprats and is claimed by Beijing.
India’s naval exercises have also taken place in the disputed waters of the Parakan Sea.
In 2017, Indian forces conducted two drills in the Sea of Japan and the Bay for a combined total of nine days.
In the wake of these activities, China declared that it would resume patrolling the waters in the East China Sea and was willing to engage in dialogue and dialogue-building with India, which in turn could lead to the return of peace and tranquillity in the sea.Despite