Navy Gets 5th Scorpene-Class Submarine ‘Vagir’ Amid Tensions With China In Indian Ocean Region

The Indian Navy on Tuesday received its fifth scorpene-class conventional submarine ‘Vagir’ ahead of its commissioning next year in January, PTI reported quoting officials. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) delivered the submarine, built under Project-75, to the Indian Navy on December 20 in Mumbai. 

The induction of the submarine will boost the Indian Navy’s combat capability amid China’s growing strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region.

Recently, India has expressed “serious concerns” over the visit of two Chinese ‘spy’ ships — Yuan Wang 5 in August, followed by Yuan Wang 6 in November this year — in the Indian Ocean Region.

READ | Miffed With Recurring Chinese Spy Ship Visits, India Pushes Sri Lanka To ‘Prioritise’ Stalled Strategic Projects

Vagir was launched into the seas on November 12, 2022, and its trials started in February 2022. This is the third submarine delivered to the Navy within 24 months. 

“It is a matter of great pride that Vagir has completed all major trials including the weapon and sensor trials in the shortest time in comparison to the earlier submarines,” the Navy said in a statement. A notable achievement is that this is the third submarine delivered to the Navy in a span of 24 months, it added.

Project-75 entails the indigenous construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. The submarines are being constructed at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai in collaboration with the Naval Group of France under a $3.75 billion deal signed in October 2005. The project is about four years behind schedule.

“Submarine construction is an intricate activity as the difficulty is compounded when all equipment are required to be miniaturised and are subject to stringent quality requirements,” PTI quoted Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal as saying.

The first submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned in December 2017, second submarine INS Khanderi in September 2019, third one INS Karanj in March 2021 and the fourth one INS Vela joined service in November 2021.

India has been focusing on shoring up its maritime capability with a focus on the Indian Ocean in the backdrop of concerns over China’s growing forays into the region.

Meanwhile, ‘Arnala’, the first of anti-submarine warfare corvette being built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers for the Indian Navy, was launched on Tuesday in Chennai.

Also Read: Amid China Border Row, India To Get New Missile That Can Strike Targets 500 Km Away: Report

On the launch of ‘Arnala’, the Navy said the name has been chosen to signify the strategic maritime importance accorded to the island of Arnala (located about 13 km north of Vasai, Maharashtra) by the great Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

“The Arnala class of ships will replace the Abhay class anti-submarine warfare ships of the Indian Navy and are designed to undertake anti-submarine operations in coastal waters and low-intensity maritime operations (LIMO) including subsurface surveillance in littoral waters,” it said.

On Sunday, the Navy also commissioned the indigenously built guided missile destroyer INS Mormugao. 

(With Agency Inputs)