Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ominous Portents for "Infant" India with Nuclear Subs

Choose any learned profession and among its top tier of admired practitioners will be some from the subcontinent we know as India (population ~ 1.2 billion est. 2011).  This is quite a stellar achievement for a country whose male literacy rate is less than The Republic of Congo's (89.6%), Zambia's (86.8%), Botswana's (84.6%), Cambodia's (82.8%), and Swaziland's (82.6%), although India's male literacy is  barely above Egypt's (81.7%) and well above neighboring Pakistan's 70%.

When it comes to managing nuclear submarines could the educated admirals and elites be overreaching?  How well does India's Navy manage its non-nuclear or decommissioned naval assets? Read on...

January 10, 2008  MEIndian Submarine Collision opens Pandora's Box of Intrigue One of India's Kilo-based diesel submarines, INS Sindhughosh scraped under a large merchant ship in the Arabian Sea about 114 nautical miles from Mumbai on Monday. Fortunately, no casualties were reported...

August 15, 2013   Indian navy reels after submarine disaster in Mumbai
New Delhi (CNN) -- The Indian navy suffered its worst peacetime disaster this week when an explosion and fire sank a submarine with 18 sailors on board in a Mumbai dockyard. ...Navy officials, meanwhile, are trying to figure out what went wrong on the INS Sindhurakshak, a submarine that had only recently returned from an extensive refitting in Russia.  ..."The accident is all the more painful because the navy had recently achieved two major successes in the form of its first nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, and the aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant," he said.

August 22, 2013 - Inside China: China ridicules Indian navy
“Paper tiger” was the term used by the Communist Party-run newspaper, the Global Times, to describe the Indian navy, which has been locked in a fierce buildup race with the Chinese navy. The newspaper challenged India’s claim that the INS Vikrant is “indigenous,” calling it a “brand of 10,000 nations” because the ship is said to have used French blueprints, Russian air wings and U.S.-made engines. “[The submarine’s explosion] seems to have provided a footnote to India’s real naval prowess,” the Global Times reported Monday in language that clearly gloated about the mishap.

Jan 26, 2014 - New DelhiIndian Navy removes captains of two frontline ships INS Talwar, INS Betwa  The Indian Navy has removed the captains of two frontline warships INS Talwar and INS Betwa, Captain Gopal Suri and Captain Deepak Bisht respectively from their positions.  A newspaper report said, both the captains have been stripped of their positions for serious lapses that led to accidents under their command.

Jan 28, 2014  - THE HINDU   Chennai - Toll in Chennai submarine mishap climbs to two
The toll in the mishap at the decommissioned submarine INS Vagli docked at the port here rose to two on Tuesday as another person succumbed to anoxia, police said.  Bhavani Shankar (47), owner of the contracting firm who tried to rescue his employee, Mahendran (36) from a manhole-like structure inside INS Vagli succumbed to the adverse impact in absence of oxygen, police said. Mahendran (36), who had gone inside the submarine on Monday, fainted in absence of oxygen and later died.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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At 30 January, 2014 00:39, Blogger Pete said...

Hi Vigilis

I don't know if Indian naval people would like this. If one looked at any major navy one would find many mistakes and some deaths.

For example if one looked at submarine accidents worldwide since 2000 you would see highly literate Chinese and Russian subs being lost with all hands - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_submarine_incidents_since_2000



At 30 January, 2014 09:57, Blogger Vigilis said...

Pete, your points are well taken.

My opening remarks about Indian professionals should salve India's national pride. Having worked with Indian people myself I can also attest they are among the world's most industrious people.

I do not think I am wrong in pointing out what I see as a looming shortcoming in their national defense ambitions for which many of us continue to hold great hopes.

Readers here may find actual opinions of Indian naval officers helpful, too. What ails the Indian Navy's blue water aspirations?

It is the quality of the "get well" plans that matters most. Russia's problem has not been know-how, until recently it has been $$$$. China's problem has been neither discipline nor $$$$, it has been inexperience.

Mistakes with nuclear vessels (propulsion and armaments) can be compounded ten-fold. India is still learning to crawl, and still finds "heavy siltation", "unskilled labourers", and "tide suddenly receded" adequate explanations for accidents.

Consider this incident, not so much for its obvious humor, but for the absence of discilpine it evidences:

"Last week of December, 2013: A shell from the Coast Guard ship Sangram landed inside the premises of the Indian Navy in Mumbai when the ship was clearing its gun upon its return into the harbour."

Finally, quoting from the linked source, there is this suggestion which obviously requires effective literacy:

"It is high time that people realise the need to adhere to laid down procedures." - Vice Admiral (retd) RP Suthan, former Vice Chief of the Naval Staff


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