Naval officers onboard the fifth Kalvari-class submarine ‘INS Vagir’ during its commissioning ceremony, at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, on January 23, 2023

INS Vagir was launched into water on November 12, 2020 and commenced sea trials on February 1, 2022

The fifth Scorpène-class conventional submarine, INS Vagir, was delivered to the Navy was commissioned into the Indian Navy on January 23.

INS Vagir was launched into water on November 12, 2020 and commenced sea trials on February 1, 2022.

The commissioning of the submarine, built under the Project-75, will bolster the Navy’s combat capability at a time when China has been increasing its presence in the Indian Ocean region.

“The induction of INS Vagir is another step towards the Indian Navy, consolidating its position as a builder’s Navy, as also reflects MDL’s capabilities as a premier ship and submarine building yard,” a press release by the Ministry of Defence said.

Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar was present at the induction ceremony as the Chief Guest.

“In the Navy, it is a time-honoured tradition that old ships and submarines never die. In keeping with that spirit, this submarine in front of us is a reincarnation of the erstwhile Vagir, which served India and the Indian Navy for three decades,” he said at the ceremony.

“In its new avatar also, she is a lethal platform with a formidable weapons package and state of the art stealth technology. Her capabilities and firepower will not only enhance the Navy’s combat potential but will also add much teeth to our efforts at deterrence,” Admiral Hari Kumar added.

The Admiral also said that INS Vagir’s induction underscores the coming of age of India’s ship building industry and the maturing of the country’s defence ecosystem. “These aspects also serve to reinforce the Indian Navy’s unequivocal commitment and steadfast resolve to be a fully Atmanirbhar [self-reliant] force by 2047,” he said.

India has been working on bolstering its maritime capability with a focus on the Indian Ocean in the backdrop of concerns over China’s growing forays into the region, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy.

The Project-75 includes indigenous construction of six submarines of Scorpene design.

The submarines are being constructed at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai under a collaboration with the Naval Group of France.

Six Scorpene submarines are being built under Project-75 by MDL under technology transfer from Naval Group of France under a $3.75 billion deal signed in October 2005. The project is about four years behind schedule.

The sixth and last of the Scorpène-class submarines, INS Vagsheer, was launched into water in April 2022 and is expected to be delivered to the Navy by end 2023.

The first submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned in December 2017, second submarine INS Khanderi in September 2019, third one INS Karanj in March 2021 and the fourth one INS Vela joined service in November 2021.