Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
Mumbai: Although the Indian Navy is yet to come out with an official statement, the fate of INS Sindhurakshak, the Indian submarine that was damaged after fire broke out onboard early Wednesday, remains uncertain.
Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi is in Mumbai to personally take stock of the situation even as specially trained naval divers are trying their level best to save 18 sailors, including three officers, trapped inside the submarine. Defence Minister AK Antony will also visit Mumbai later today.
Importantly, it is not for the first time that INS Sindhurakshak has suffered damage. The submarine, which was commissioned in 1997, got damaged in February 2010 as well when a fire caused by an explosion in a battery compartment led to the death of one sailor. INS Sindhurakshak was docked at Vishakhapatnam at the time of the incident.
However, details about the nature of today’s explosions have yet to be ascertained. Some media reports claimed that the possibility of weapons having been damaged cannot be ruled out.
As per reports, the submarine has sunk with only a tiny portion of it visible over the surface.
After the 2010 fire, Sindhurakshak was sent to Russia for a costly refit. The ill-fated boat had returned to India on April 29.
As submarines are designed keeping in mind eventualities like the one that occurred today, the focus is on saving the lives of the sailors.
The damage to frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak is undoubtedly a setback to naval security given India’s push to play a dominant role in the Indian Ocean region.