“Not sleeping” due to delay in implementing Lt General Campose committee report, have taken up cases for beefing security of naval bases
Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba dismissed Pakistani assertion that it tracked down an Indian submarine in its waters near Karachi last month, calling it “totally bogus”. Addressing his annual media conference on the occasion of Navy Day, he said that the Indian navy is capable of handling any threat in the Indian Ocean region (IOR), which is its primary area of interest.
“There was no submarine deployed in the area of Pakistani claims. As far as the repelling of submarine of any nation goes, it is not an easy task. The claim made by Pakistan navy was totally bogus. We deploy our submarines as per our operational necessity and will continue to do so,” Admiral Lanba said.
On a question about the Lt General Campose committee guidelines issued by the defence ministry to the three defence services on Monday, as reported by The Indian Express, the navy chief said that the committee had visited various naval bases and classified them as A, B and C, based on security threat. The navy, however was “not sleeping” in the interim and had taken up cases for beefing up the security of naval installations, by procuring electric fences, cameras and other infrastructural equipment.
On the efficacy of Defence Security Corps (DSC) in protecting military bases, Admiral Lanba said that the main leader of the terror group at Pathankot air base was tackled by DSC. The current status of DSC is being examined to see if an alternative is needed, he said.
The navy chief stated that they were cognisant of the Chinese navy’s collaboration with Pakistan but there was a difference of opinion between the Chinese and Pakistanis about the use of Gwadar port. While a Pakistani navy official has spoken about Gwadar being used as a Chinese naval base, the Chinese navy has a different view, he added.
“We have the capability and the assets to take on any force which is deployed in the region. We have plans to tackle it,” Admiral Lanba asserted.
According to the navy chief, the navy has full maritime awareness of the Chinese forces in IOR. Starting with 2012, sixth Chinese submarine deployment is currently on in the IOR, where they have been deploying both conventional and nuclear submarines. The navy is also fully aware of Chinese submarine docking at Karachi naval port, Admiral Lanba explained.
Holding India as an exemplar which has resolved maritime boundary issues in accordance with international law, as with Bangladesh recently, Admiral Lanba said that the maritime disputes in the South China Sea also need to be resolved in accordance with international law and UNCLOS.
The Navy chief expressed satisfaction with the state of navy’s submarine fleet, as it will have 18 conventional submarines by 2021-22. “We currently has 14 submarines. We are hopeful that we will get INS Kalvari, under Project 75, in the early part of next year, as dive trials have been successfully completed and further trials are on. Plans for mid-life upgrade of six submarines have been approved which will give them a life of 10 years. Five boats from Project 75 will follow INS Kalvari every nine months. And Project 75-I will also have taken off by 2021-22.”
Admiral Lanba dismissed the naval variant of Tejas aircraft being indigenously developed by DRDO and ADA as being unfit to fly from aircraft carriers. The current technology demonstrators being flown are unfit because of the thrust-weight ratio, which means that it is too heavy to take off for its engine, with weapons and fuel on board. The navy, he said, is in the process of identifying an alternate aircraft for INS Vikramaditya, currently in service, and IAC-1 which is under construction at Kochi shipyard.