Already facing a depleting strength of underwater vessels, the loss of one of its youngest and most capable submarines--INS Sindhurakshak, is a big setback for the Navy.
In view of the lessening operational capabilities of the existing submarine fleet and delays in getting their replacements, the Navy has made some changes in the deployment routines to prolong their life.
The Sindhurakshak and other four vessels upgraded in Russia, were supposed to play a major role in such a scenario but with this mishap, new plans will have to be chalked out to maintain the operational preparedness, senior Naval officers said.
The Navy has now a fleet of 14 submarines including nine Russian Kilo Class submarines, four German HDWs and one nuclear submarine INS Chakra leased to it by Russia last year.
The Sindhurakshak submarine was set to sail for its new mission in the next few days and was fully armed with its torpedos and anti-ship missiles in the naval dockyards in Mumbai at the time of the incident.
Under the around Rs 450 crore upgrades in Russian shipyards from 2010 to 2013, its structure and hull were refurbished and several other systems including its weaponry and target engagement capabilities were enhanced.
The submarine, procured at a cost of around Rs.400 crore, was one of the ten such vessels ordered by India from Russia in the early 1980s and the Sindhurakshak was the second-last of the lot and delivered in 1997 and was followed by the INS Sindhuratna.