PM Narendra Modi at the induction of INS Kalvari in Mumbai

Increased trade and energy flows depicts India's predominant role in the India Ocean region: PM. There are over 100 warships including submarines prowling Indian Ocean all the time. INS Kalvari is the first submarine to join Indian Navy in nearly 2 decades

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi reiterated "India wants Security and Growth for all in the Region" (SAGAR) as the first of the Scorpene class submarines-INS Kalvari-formally joined the Indian Navy today . Modi was speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Mumbai.

The INS Kalvari is a Scorpene class diesel-electric conventional submarine. It is the first submarine to join the Indian Navy in nearly two decades.

The Prime Minister said that increased trade and energy flows through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) reiterated India's predominant role in the region, one of the most militarized region in the world.

The upshot of this is more and more nations across the world are trying to dominate the vast waters of the IOR. At any given point of time there are over 100 warships including submarines prowling the Indian Ocean. Importantly, there has been an increase in the presence of Chinese warships and submarines in the IOR. At least 14 Chinese warships and submarines have been spotted in 2017.

By reiterating that India wants security and growth for all, Modi sent out a tacit but clear message to the neighbouring countries especially China, that Indian is the net security guarantor of the region.

The Prime Minister also highlighted his government's efforts to hasten acquisition of defence equipment. India's defence acquisition process is notorious for delays.

The contract to build Scorpene class submarines was inked in 2005, the construction started few years later. And, although the French defence manufacturing giant Naval Group was collaborating with Mazagon Docks, building of the submarine was delayed by at least four years. The Indian Navy hopes that the commissioning of the next five Scorpene submarines will be faster.

India needs at least 24 submarines, but has only 13. And, of the 13 only half are available for deployment at any given time.

Though the depleting number of submarines is a cause of concern, "the two nuclear-powered submarines have been filling-in besides we have very advanced surveillance aircraft that also do submarine hunting", said Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha (Retd).

India has two nuclear submarines-the indigenously built INS Arihant that can fire nuclear missiles and INS Chakra, the Russian nuclear submarine taken on lease that carries conventional weapons. 

Over the past three years, we have changed India's security paradigm, Modi said and added that India now dovetails "defence preparedness, diplomacy and soft power".

The first submarine to be commissioned into the Indian Navy was also called INS Kalvari. It was a Russian made conventional diesel-electric submarine and also was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 14, 1967.

Commodore KS Subramanian, the captain of the first INS Kalvari, now in his 80s, was also present at the Mumbai docks as the tri-colour went up on the stern of the submarine.