The Indian Navy deployed its submarine for more than nine months in the Indian Ocean in view of China increasing its naval presence in the region

The Indian submarine patrolled the crucial sea lanes from January onwards before returning to its base in Mumbai last Saturday.

It is the first time that the Navy made public operations of the submarine fleet on Sunday in an apparent message to adversaries about the capabilities and reach of the force in the strategically important Indian Ocean.

The indigenously designed and built diesel-powered submarine INS Vela returned to its base after active deployment for 8.5 months, a tweet message by the Western Command of the Navy said on Sunday.

It said the submarine recorded many achievements through her sustained operations at sea and completed an extremely successful mission-based deployment across the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). However, the navy refrained from giving more details of the nature of operations and pattern of deployment including patrolling.

INS Vela is the fourth submarine of the first batch of six Kalvari-class submarines for the Indian Navy. It is a diesel-electric attack submarine based on the Scorpène class, designed by the French naval defence and energy group DCNS and manufactured by Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai. It was inducted into the Navy in 2021. Three other submarines including Kalvari, Khanderi, and Karanj commissioned earlier.

The previous avatar of INS Vela was commissioned on August 31, 1973, and bid adieu after 37 years, of service in 2010.

The latest submarine possesses advanced stealth and combat capabilities. Attacks from INS Vela can be carried out using torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles at the same time, be it on the surface or underwater. The submarine weighs about 1,770 tons and has a speed of 20 knots underwater.

The Indian Ocean region is vital for India as more than 70 per cent of its export and import passes through the sea lanes in the region.

Moreover, China since 2008 has increased its naval forays into the Indian Ocean and at any given time now three to four of its warships including submarines are operating in the region thereby posing a challenge to Indian interests.

The Indian Navy sees the region as its area of responsibility and has increased its presence in the last few years through mission-based deployments.

Moreover, India has further strengthened its ties with the nations located on the rim of the Indian Ocean region. It warships regularly visit the countries as part of maritime diplomacy.