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Monday, July 20, 2015

China's submarine force four times that of India and growing

INS ChakraA recent visit by an advanced Chinese Yuan-class submarine to Karachi, Pakistan, after traversing the Arabian Sea, worried Indian authorities concerned about China’s growing undersea-warfare capabilities—more than four times as large as India’s.

The submarine, with 65 crew, spent a week in Pakistan, refuelling and restocking, before sailing back to China. Yuan-class submarines are diesel-electric, but unlike Indian conventional submarines, which must surface to “breathe” and charge batteries, they are capable of staying submerged for weeks.

India now plans to lease a second nuclear attack submarine from Russia and the government has just approved a Rs 90,000-crore ($14 billion) plan to build six nuclear attack submarines in Vishakapatnam. But as Admiral P Murugesan, vice chief of naval staff, told The Economic Times last week: “We have started work, but we are still at the pen-to-paper stage.”

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