[url=http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEX20080411160937&Title=Kochi&rLink=0]Where N-subs come to roost
Saturday April 12 2008 02:31 IST[/url]
KOCHI: Adding to the strategic import of South India, the Indian Navy is setting up its strategic nuclear base at Rambilli near Vishakaptanam in Andhra Pradesh.
Work on this highly classified project
is expected to be over by 2011. All submarines, conventional and nuclear, of the Indian Navy will be moved to this base once itâ€™s completed.
Top sources told Express that Advanced Tactical Vessels, the Indian nuclear submarines expected to dive by 2010
, will be the first residents of the base, where they will be moved from the nearby Shipbuilding Centre. The advanced sea trials of the ATVs will be controlled from the new base after the induction of the crew, who are currently undergoing simulator training, is done.
The salient feature of this base will be its channel with enough depth to allow a submarine to remain submerged while approaching or leaving the base.
This will thicken the cloak of secrecy covering underwater operations, crucial to inflicting a second strike in case of a nuclear war outbreak.
Once complete, Rambilli will control all operations in the eastern theatre which is getting interesting with the fast modernisation of the Chinese Navy. China already operates 10 nuclear submarines, each carrying 12 missiles. The base is also crucial given the increasing Indian involvement in the east, especially its growing ties with Singapore.
More than the firepower it gives the Navy, Rambilli completes the South Indian role in Indiaâ€™s future plans vis-Ã -vis deployment of nuclear assets. It also marks the first major futuristic naval initiative on the east coast with the Ezhimala Naval Academy and the Seabird base at Karwar, diagonally south of Rambilli, taking care of the west coast.
"But Rambilli will be bigger, much bigger, than Karwar. The latter will be home to mainline battleships berthed safely beneath several tiers of security including an e-fence as the first line of defence. Rambilli will house all nuclear-powered submarines
," sources said.
With this South India will be home to two arms of the N-triad. The Air Force is already accelerating work on its base in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, to be the first India Air and Space Base co-ordinating the second strike possibility. This apart, DRDO has already identified many sick State-owned PSUs in South India that it can enter into joint ventures with for fabrication and assembly of advanced weapons.