India Buying Additional Submarines as China extends Reach Into Indian Ocean

The Indian Navy has initiated a request for information for six air-independent propulsion-enabled submarines supporting Project 75I, a program worth more than $12 billion. However, analysts tell the process will take time since the purchase would be held following the new Strategic Partners policy.

The RFI was issued to six foreign shipyards, Involving Rubin Design Bureau of Russia, Naval Group of Paris, Navantia of Spain, Saab of Sweden, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Tokyo and ThyssenKrupp of Germany, eliciting an answer on AIP-enabled submarine capabilities.

New Delhi is seeking “a proven, effective, state-of-the-art, electric heavyweight torpedo; a land attack missile, and perhaps even an underwater-to-air missile against enemy helicopters and mines,” Anil Jai Singh, a retired Indian Navy commodore and defense analyst, told Defense News.

China, which is heavily reliant on imported fuel, took around 80% of its oil imports and 11% of natural-gas imports of ships transiting the Malacca Strait.

India’s increasing focus on submarine warfare was emphasized when the Malabar 2017 naval exercises, conducted with the US and Japan lately.

China — which recently sent troops to its first overseas base in Djibouti, carried warships to naval exercises with Russia in the Baltic Sea, and extended a monitoring ship to observe US-Australia naval drills — has responded to developments in the region with anxiety.

An editorial published this month in the state-run newspaper China Daily announced Beijing is the one “that should feel ‘security concerns,’ given the value of the Indian Ocean for its trade and oil imports.”