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INS Kalvari gears up to strengthen Navy power

INS Kalvari, the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines being built at Mazagon dock in Mumbai, is likely to be handed over to the Indian Navy next month.

"We are aiming to hand over the submarine to the Navy next month as all the trials have been conducted successfully. The date of the commissioning is yet to be finalised," Commodore Rakesh Anand (retd), chairman & managing director of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), told TOI here.

He avoided getting into the specifics about the trial results. "The Navy has done an analysis of each trial and we can't comment on it," said Anand.

MDSL, a part of the defence ministry's department of defence production, has been building Scorpene-class submarines under project 75 with transfer of technology from French collaborator DCNS.

A senior MDSL official, who did not wish to be identified, said, "Naval authorities will confirm the date of the commissioning ceremony in the next few weeks. All crucial trials, including test-firings of torpedo, have achieved the desired results. Currently, testing of certain on-board systems is on at the dock and it will be over in the next few days. We are in the process of handing over the submarine to the Navy mostly in the second week of August."

Kalvari was supposed to be commissioned in the Navy in September 2016. The deadline was deferred following a delay in the sea trials, sources said.

Senior defence experts said it was the need of the hour to strengthen the Navy's underwater capabilities, particularly in the face of a growing presence of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean Region.

"China has about 60 submarines, including nuclear powered submarines, in their arsenal. It's a huge number vis-a-vis the Indian strength. We need to induct more submarines to counter future challenges. Post-induction, the Navy usually takes some time before a particular vessel is put to operational use. It is a time consuming process and hence we need to build submarines on time," a former vice-admiral said on condition of anonymity.

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