India’s second Scorpene class submarine was launched at the Mazagon docks on Thursday, adding to the country’s naval might with a vessel that combines superior stealth technology with an ability to launch crippling attacks with torpedoes and missiles.
The indigenously-built submarine, named Khanderi, will now undergo extensive trials at sea and harbour till December to test all it equipments before it is commissioned into the Indian Navy.
The government is looking to bolster the country’s naval fleet to counter what is being viewed as increasing activities of China in the Indian Ocean and Pakistan’s attempts to acquire a nuclear-powered submarine from the Communist neighbour.
Khanderi is among six submarines being built at Mazagon docks in collaboration with a French company, DCNS. The first one, Kalvari, is completing sea trials and will be commissioned shortly into the Indian Navy, a defence official said.
Union minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre presided over the function when the Khanderi was launched by his wife, Bina Bhamre. Naval chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, was also present.
The Indian Navy’s submarine arm will complete 50 years on December 8 this year.
“The day is not far off when India will build submarines for other nations,” Bhamre said after the launch.
Khanderi is named after an island fort of the Marathas which played a vital role in ensuring their supremacy at sea in the late 17th century.
As a tradition, navy ships and submarines are brought “alive” after decommissioning. The first Khanderi was commissioned into the navy 1968 and decommissioned after more than 20 years.
Defence officials said Khanderi uses precision-guided weapons including torpedoes as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles, which can be launched underwater or on surface.
The submarine can undertake multifarious types of missions such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance, the officials added.
India joined an exclusive group of submarine constructing nations on February 7, 1992, with the commissioning of the first Indian-built submarine, INS Shalki.
(With inputs from agencies)