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THIS image taken from a video shows the Indian submarine approaching the territorial waters of Pakistan.—AP
THIS image taken from a video shows the Indian submarine approaching the territorial waters of Pakistan.—AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday said it had blocked an intrusion attempt by an Indian submarine in what is being described as the latest provocative action by Indian forces during the ongoing crisis between the two countries.

“Indian Navy has deviously deployed its submarines against Pakistan in line with Indian nefarious designs. However, Pakistan Navy detected and blocked Indian Navy Submarine from entering into Pakistani waters,” a PN spokesman said.

Scorpène-class submarine INS Kalvari was “detected and localised” in Pakistan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, some 86 nautical miles from Gwadar, according to a source.

The detection was done by P-3 Orion aircraft in Pakistan Navy’s fleet, which is an anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.

INS Kalvari detected and localised some 86 nautical miles from Gwadar

The submarine detection was in itself a major success given that Scorpène-class submarines are well known for better stealth features including advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels and a hydro-dynamically optimised shape.

The source said the submarine was in a position from which it could have launched missile strikes on lands of Gwadar, Ormara or Pasni.

Scorpène-class submarines, according to its manufacturer, can undertake anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance mission. It can attack with precision guided weapons.

The intrusion, which is a second attempt since November 2016 when it happened ahead of the dispatch of inaugural cargo shipment from Gwadar, is being viewed very seriously in wake of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest address to a rally in Ahmedabad where he said: “It is our principle to hit enemies inside their territory..... I don’t like to wait for long.”

Pakistani strategists believe that after Pakistan’s military ascendancy in the first round of confrontation, the Indian PM would always make another attempt to level the score.

However, the Pakistan Navy said its response to the intrusion attempt was restrained because of the state policy of exercising restraint. “The submarine could have been easily engaged and destroyed had it not been Pakistan’s policy to exercise restraint in the face of Indian aggression and to give peace a chance to prevail,” the spokesman said.

Assuring continued vigilance, the PN said: “The submarine is being kept under watch along with monitoring of other Indian Navy units.

“The incident vividly reflects high vigilance and competence of Pakistan Navy. It also reflects the commitment and resolve of Pakistan Navy to defend geographical frontiers of the motherland in sync with Pakistan Army and Air Force.”

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2019