Asia Minute: India Building Subs, Boosting Navy

Dec 4, 2017

INS Chakra
Credit Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to security issues in the Asia Pacific, North Korea continues to be a focus. But developments elsewhere in the area are also having an effect on regional strategy—and that includes news from India. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

India has begun to build half a dozen nuclear-powered attack submarines.

The chief admiral of India’s navy said only that “it has kicked off and I will leave it at that. It is a classified project.”

The Press Trust of India first reported the story, which came out of a news conference the chief admiral held in New Delhi to mark India’s “Navy Day” – observed today.

Right now, India has a single nuclear-powered sub—the INS Chakra. It’s a Russian-made attack submarine that India is leasing from Russia, in a deal set to expire in 2022.

It’s also been sidelined for the time being.

The admiral confirmed that the Chakra’s radar has been damaged—no further details.

He also said 34 ships are under construction, as part of a project to modernize and expand the Indian navy.

The updates come as India has signaled its increased cooperation with the United States and two other key American allies Australia and Japan.

One common concern among the four: activities of the Chinese navy in waters around India—part of the “Indo-Pacific.”

The admiral said that at any given time, eight Chinese navy ships are likely to be deployed in the area of the Indian Ocean.

Sometimes the number goes higher, such as in August, when it rose to 14.