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The induction of Hangor-class submarines by Pakistan, procured from China, has sent ripples through the strategic landscape of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. This development has the potential to alter the balance of power in the region, particularly vis-à-vis India’s long-held naval dominance. Let’s delve into the possible implications for India.

The Hangor class boasts modern features like Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems, allowing them to stay submerged for longer durations. This translates to a more potent underwater threat to Indian surface ships, potentially hindering their free movement in the region.

India’s conventional deterrence strategy relies heavily on its superior naval power. The presence of these new submarines could complicate this strategy by forcing India to devote more resources to anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.

The Indian Ocean is a vital trade route for India. Any Pakistani attempt to disrupt these routes using its submarines could escalate tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. China’s role in supplying these submarines strengthens its military footprint in the Indian Ocean. This development could be seen as a challenge to India’s position as the pre-eminent regional power.

The Indian Navy remains significantly larger and more experienced than its Pakistani counterpart. India also possesses advanced ASW capabilities, including indigenous helicopters and frigates. India is constantly upgrading its own fleet with nuclear submarines and advanced ASW technologies. This ongoing modernization program will help counter the threat posed by the Hangor class.

India enjoys strong military ties with the US, France, and other countries. Cooperation on maritime security issues with these allies could further bolster India’s position. While the induction of the Hangor class submarines does pose challenges for India, it doesn’t signal a complete shift in the regional balance of power. India’s superior naval strength, ongoing modernization efforts, and international partnerships are likely to mitigate the threat.

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