SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
In response to increasing maritime tensions and the expanding presence of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India has unveiled plans to bolster its naval capabilities. These plans include a significant ramp-up of its submarine acquisition program, aimed at modernizing its fleet and maintaining a strong presence in the strategically vital waters of the IOR.
Next-Generation Diesel Submarines:
One of the key elements of India’s submarine modernization effort is the procurement of 21 next-generation conventional diesel submarines by 2040. These submarines are intended to replace the ageing 8 Kilo-class and 4 Type 209 submarines that are scheduled for retirement before 2030. Under Project-75I, India has been considering options from two prominent contenders, the German U-212/A and the Spanish S-80 Plus submarines for Six submarines that are to be manufactured in India locally.
French Collaboration and Super Kalvari Class:
Simultaneously, the Indian Navy is collaborating with the French shipyard Naval Group and the state-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) to build three follow-on Kalvari-class submarines in India. These submarines are part of a “Make in India” initiative and leverage the expertise gained from the construction of the initial six Kalvari-class submarines.
Beyond this, a new line of submarines, often referred to as the “Super Kalvari” class, is in development. It is anticipated that the design for these enhanced submarines will be finalized by 2025-26, with construction potentially commencing by late 2028. The Indian Navy plans to order six submarines in the first batch and another six in a subsequent batch, potentially extending the production line until 2040.
Nuclear Attack Submarines:
In addition to conventional submarines, the Indian Navy has ambitious plans for nuclear attack submarines (SSNs). India aims to develop three SSNs locally, with follow-up orders for three more submarines in later stages. These nuclear-powered submarines will significantly enhance India’s underwater capabilities and provide a formidable deterrence in the Indian Ocean.
As India works to modernize and expand its submarine fleet, these efforts underscore the country’s commitment to maintaining maritime security and protecting its interests in the Indian Ocean. The geopolitical dynamics in the region, particularly in light of China’s naval expansion, have prompted India to strengthen its naval capabilities and secure its strategic interests in the IOR.
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