New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Navy has received the much awaited Scorpene class submarine — INS Kalvari after a wait of over five years. The submarine was scheduled for induction in 2012-13 but the project got delayed due to controversies and the alleged ineptness of Indian shipyard to absorb the French technology and funding. Indian Navy's Western Command that guards the Indian waters near Pakistan will operate the submarine.
The sub is the fourteenth submarine to join the Indian naval fleet. The Indian Navy plans to own at least 24 submarines by 2030 to maintain its superiority in the Indian Ocean. Apart from the five remaining Scorpene-class submarines which are expected to be battle-ready by 2021-22, the Indian Navy would also receive six other nuclear submarines by 2030. The Indian Navy also intends to purchase six stealth submarines under project P75 (I) by 2030 but the project is presently at the tendering stage.
However, achieving the target of 24 submarines by 2030 would be a huge challenge for the Indian Navy as 13 of its existing conventional boats are 17-31 years old and need an immediate upgrade. Moreover, most of them would retire by 2030.
Commissioning of INS Kalvari adds strength to India's defence capabilities & is an occasion of great pride for India. This diesel-electric attack submarine ws built for the Indian Navy by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd & is 1st of 6submarines fr @indiannavy. pic.twitter.com/KkJ7qfUBMi— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) 14 декабря 2017 г.
"Achieving the target of 24 submarines by 2030 would be extremely challenging. Definitely, it is a matter of concern for us but at the same time, the Indian Navy is continuously working to enhance the capability of Shishumar and Sindhugosh class submarine," Cmde. Abhay K Singh (Retd), a research fellow at the Military Affairs Centre in the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi told Sputnik.
Experts say that instead of targeting a certain number of submarines, India should focus on developing the capability of the existing fleet.
"India's planning is focused on numbers till date and we have not achieved that so far. We should change the strategy now. Instead, every contract should be focused on capability development rather than numbers," Rear Admiral Rear Rahul K. Shrawat (retired) said.