Where’s The Periscope? GIRISH K.N. YADAV
Submarine INS Sindhughosh, Pride of Indian Navy, Crippled by Collision With Fishing Boat
New Delhi, India
India’s enemies and neighbours are breathing a big sigh of relief, at least temporarily, as India’s much touted naval build-up suffered a serious setback last week off the coast of Bombay in the waters of the Indian Ocean.
The pride of India’s Navy -- the ‘attack’ submarine INS Sindhughosh -- was damaged and put out of commission in a mishap on the night of Thursday, February 19, 2015.
It had collided with a fishing boat off the Bombay coastline and was damaged as a result, Indian Navy spokesperson D K Sharma confirmed on Sunday.
The periscope of the submarine was damaged while the vessel was involved in a naval exercise. The presence of the fishing boat -- not part of the military exercise -- had caught the Indian submarine commander totally by surprise.
“It was because the exercise was being conducted in pitch dark conditions,” explained Sharma. “The fishing boat was unlit.”
The submarine was immediately brought back to the dock to repair the periscope.
A periscope is fundamental to a submarine. Without it, it is like an automobile with its windshield and windows painted black.
Especially if the submarine does not have either sonar or radar, or its crew do not know how to use them.
There is also conjecture that the periscope may not have been working before the collision. The Navy spokesperson offered no comment on this.
“The Ministry of Defence has been informed about the matter," he said.
The BJP government had in December 2014 informed India’s Parliament that there have been 24 mishaps involving Indian naval vessels since 2011, claiming the lives of 22 personnel. Four others remain missing. That figure, it is believed, is more than the total naval personnel lost by India in all its wars with both China and Pakistan ... combined.
None of these 24 ‘incidents’ during the last 3 years have involved an enemy or conflict of any kind with any external party. However, each has posthumously been awarded a Vir Chakra (bravery medal) and acclaimed an Indian Naval Hero. A memorial is being erected in their honour.
INS Sindhughosh is a Kilo-class submarine Type 877EKM. It specialises in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities.
The Indian Navy is now looking into buying new equipment which will allow its submarines to function in unlit areas at night, and the possibility of even acquiring sonar and radar capabilities from their newest arms suppliers, the Israelis.
The RSS high command and the Hindu Mahasabha (Grand Council) expressed puzzlement because, they say, both sonar and radar had been invented in India during the Vedic times and widely used during the Mahabharata wars, and therefore should already be part of India's defence equipment.
The BJP has hastily earmarked 12 billion dollars for refurbishing India’s Navy. And to purchase headlights for its attack submarines.
The BJP source hastily added that the budget itself may have to be upgraded if, a) any of the equipment purchased needs to be functional and current, and/or actually delivered (as opposed to being only a 'paper' transaction); and b) a larger coterie of RSS and BJP leaders need to get kickbacks from the deals.
[Based on news report by India Today dated February 22, 2015. Updated 22:57 IST
February 23, 2015
Conversation about this article
1: Kaala Singh (Punjab), February 23, 2015, 9:58 AM.
If I remember correctly, not so long ago and during the Congress rule, two Indian Navy ships worth close to a billion dollars each met a similar fate and the Navy Chief had to resign for that. I believe those ships were replaced with more expensive ships and huge kickbacks pocketed. Now, it's the BJP's turn to milk the country's citizenry. Pakistan and China can relax, the Indian military forces are of no threat to them.
2: Gurinder Singh (Stockton, California, U.S.A.), February 23, 2015, 1:12 PM.
China's military capability is far superior to any of its neighbors.
3: Harmandar Kaur (California, USA), February 23, 2015, 2:32 PM.
Are you sure the photo is that of a Defence Minister of India? I suppose the Rs.3 scarf and the Rs.20 sweater are dead giveaways. He looks awfully like Amit Shah, the current government dada/godfather, sans the stubble, of course. But then, they all come from the same neighborhoods, don't they. [EDITOR: It's definitely Mr A K Anthony. The photo was taken while he was in the act of taking a salute at a march-past, accompanied by the Indian military top-brass.]
4: Vinod Bakshi (London, United Kingdom), February 24, 2015, 2:45 PM.
I think you're mistaken about the photo. It's of a chaprassi giving a salute after he had delivered a cup of chai to the Minister. Look at it again, please, and tell me if I'm wrong!
5: Kanwarjeet Singh (USA), February 24, 2015, 8:44 PM.
When we were kids we used to joke about the Pakistani military, sort of part of a propaganda directed against an enemy: Q - "How do you sink a Pakistani ship?" A - "You put it in the water". Q - "How do you stop a Pakistani tank?" - "You shoot the soldiers pushing it". Ironically, now the chickens have come home to roost, and the joke is on India. Her own greedy citizens have sold her off in the international markets for whatever price they could get. This country is now hollow on infrastructure, morality, honesty, integrity ... but high on greed and corruption. India does not need a Pakistan or China as an enemy, it will self-destruct. Coming from a family of armed forces personnel who fought in the wars against Pakistan and China, I was determined to join the Indian Army's armored corp. When interviewing, I was denied into the NDA by a Captain Sharma who clearly stated: 'hum tumhaare logon ko nahin lenge" - "We will not take any of your people in!" I am now really thankful to 'Captain' Sharma.
6: Kaala Singh (Punjab), February 25, 2015, 11:11 AM.
@5: Growing up, we also heard and read similar stories (Indian history books are full of them) about how the brave Indian Army blew the hell out of Pakistan in all the wars and how the 1962 China conflict was an aberration, never to happen again. But now, with better understanding and with better information available in the public domain, I can say that India never won a war with Pakistan, all of them were at best a draw, with no clear results. 1) 1947 - India claims victory, but Pakistan takes away half of Kashmir. A victor would occupy the land of his enemy, but would at the very least secure the land he claims as his own. This does not look like a victory to me. 2) 1965 - Officially a ceasefire, Pakistan makes advances in one sector and India advances in another sector. Both sides return the land occupied by them after the war. 3) 1971: Maybe the only time when India can claim victory, but only in that Pakistan lost East Pakistan. India gained nothing except a new neighbour. But in this war, Pakistan faced huge logistical problems of rushing men and supplies across Indian territory to East Pakistan, as the two parts of Pakistan are separated by the huge distance. Pakistani ships had to travel all the way to Sri Lanka, refuel and then proceed to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). This was the main reason for their loss. 4) 1999 Kargil war: Pakistan had an upper hand all along, things changed only when Israel sent its high-altitude drones to help India. These drones did most of the intelligence gathering and bombings and turned the tables for India. Forget China, if there is a future war with Pakistan, I doubt if India can do anything on its own.
7: Dr Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), February 25, 2015, 6:59 PM.
If indeed all these disastrous stories re India's major military arsenal are in fact true, as a Canadian citizen my major concern lies in the fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers, so under what responsible conditions do the nuclear arsenals of both these countries exist or are stored - it should be of concern to all civilized nations around the world. Including the two nations in question, their citizenry and respective governments which have possession and control over these extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction.
8: Kaala Singh (Punjab), February 25, 2015, 10:40 PM.
@7: There are credible reports that the 1999 Kargil conflict could have escalated into a nuclear conflagration and there was panic everywhere (foreigners left India in large numbers possibly due to the advisories issued by their missions). Pakistan's official position being that the fighters in Kargil were Kashmiri "Mujahideen" and not the Pakistan army, hence they could not openly use their Air Force and heavy artillery, while India freely used its Air Force and heavy weapons supported by Israeli UAVs, this being the main reason for their losses. According to reports (both Indian and Pakistani), to counter this situation, Pakistan prepared to deploy nuclear missiles and that is when the US stepped in and brokered an agreement to allow for the safe withdrawal of the Pakistani forces.