Saturday, February 21, 2009

Arms Race Update - India's Boomers Nearing Reality

India could be just a few years away from deploying its own fleet of made-in-India nuclear missile subs. With the Bush-era American enthusiasm for India on the wane and American, Russian and Chinese interest in Pakistan growing, India seems to be feeling decidedly exposed. From Asia Times Online:

New Delhi has been actively seeking out assistance from France in the implementation of the ATV project, and that Russian engineers are already involved. The sources said that the sea trials of the nuclear-powered submarines should begin this month and that the submarines should be operational within the next three years. The secretive ATV nuclear backed ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) project began in the late 1970's and is being implemented at a secret dry dock in Visakhapatnam, India's Eastern Naval command base. Observers have said that the submarines are a critical addition to India's weapons capabilities.

New Delhi has been concerned about Beijing's strengthening of bilateral ties with Islamabad, particularly given recent tension on sea projects such as at the Gwadar port. China has also been developing ties with Sri Lanka and Myanmar to deepen its control over a complex energy-security conflict being aggressively played out in the region.

Given the ongoing tussle between India and China to control the waters of the Indian Ocean, the New Delhi government has been put under tremendous pressure from the navy to ramp up India's sea power. China has already spoken of creating three ocean-going fleets to patrol the areas of Japan and Korea, the western Pacific, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean.

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