India is exploring the possibility of leasing a few kilo-class submarines from Russia, according to the Hindustan Times.
After the recent INS Sindhurakshak blow up, the Indian Navy’s submarine arm is left with just 13 conventional submarines, with two under repair. And most of them have lived 75% of their operational life.
An Indian Navy official was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times that scaling up the capabilities of the submarine fleet was a priority and “all available options” would be explored.
Leasing new submarines from Russia would ultimately be a politico-commercial decision, officials added.
The Indian Navy’s underwater capabilities are currently at a highly precarious state. And over time, submarine-induction in the Indian Navy has been fraught with time and cost overruns.
It will be left with merely seven to eight submarines, including a nuclear attack submarine leased from Russia, INS Chakra, in the coming years, as it will phase out the older Russian kilo-class and German HDW Type 209 submarines.
It is believed that the Indian Navy would have inducted 12 new conventional submarines and an equal number by 2030, if the government had adhered to the original capacity building plan cleared in 1999.