While the Indian Navy is in need of nuclear submarines to bolster its strength underwater and to replace its ailing fleet, no builders have shown interest in the project so far. The Union Government had previously announced that six nuclear ones would be built after a clearance given by the Cabinet committee on security.
The project that was estimated to cost Rs 50,000 crore would’ve provided a much-needed boost to the shipyard. The submarines were to be designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and touted to be built at Hindustan Shipyard. But Hindustan Shipyard has clearly stated that it will not be building them in its yard. “We will not build any nuclear submarine for the Indian Navy,” stated the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Shipyard Limited, retired Rear Admiral LV Sharatbabu.
He has reportedly refused to elaborate further on the topic and even Reliance Defence and Engineering hasn’t come forward to build them at their shipyard in Rambilli village in Visakhapatnam district. The company has gone back on the MoU it signed with the state government in the city during the CII Partnership Summit in 2016. They had signed a MoU stating and agreeing to build nuclear submarines and much-needed aircraft carriers for the Indian Navy in collaboration with Russian companies. Even though they yet to even come forward for taking up the project, the state government has already issued a GO for the allotment of land citing the MoU as the reason.
The Indian Navy has 13 conventional submarines and two nuclear submarines – INS Chakra taken on a lease from Russia in 2012 and INS Arihant that was decommissioned quietly in October last year – in its kitty. Reportedly, half of the conventional ones are aged and ready for a medium refit. So the Indian Navy is in need for more submarines for countering the presence of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean.
In the last few years, Chinese submarines have come close to Indian water six times.