New Delhi: The Chief of Naval Staff, Adm. Sunil Lanba, said here on Friday that India had already embarked on a process of building six nuclear-powered attack submarines which he said would “add enormous power and reach to the country’s naval prowess” and enhance the Navy’s overall strike capabilities in the face of China’s growing military manoeuvring in the Indo-Pacific region.
“It has kicked off and I will leave it at that. It is a classified project. The process has started,” Adm. Lanba said in reply to a question after his customary address ahead of Navy Day on December 4.
The Navy Chief also declined to answer any queries on INS Arihant, India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine.
The Navy Chief said if China plans to use the Pakistani port of Gwadar in Balochistan as a base for its Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), India will have to reassess the threat assessment and devise ways to deal with it. “Chinese private companies have acquired a majority stake in Gwadar. Nor is there any information on whether Gwadar is going to be a naval base or a commercial harbour... If in future there are PLA Navy warships stationed in Gwadar, it will be a matter of concern, and we will have to look at that and mitigate.”
Underscoring the fact that PLAN activity in the Indian Ocean region was being closely monitored and that there had been no unusual pattern in their deployment since 2013, Adm. Lanba said at any given point of time there were eight PLAN ships in the IOR, of which three are part of anti-piracy operations while a submarine comes with escort ships twice a year....