In the aftermath of the cowardly Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred, India pulled out its Navy from an exercise and deployed its fleet including nuclear and conventional submarines, close to Pakistani territorial waters, reports ANI.
The report mentions that Pakistan was worried about the Indian Navy’s aggressive deployment near Pakistani territorial waters, and it had thought that New Delhi will deploy its Navy to retaliate against the Pulwama attack s by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). However, India surprised Pakistan by carrying out a ‘non-military pre-emptive strike’ – Operation Bandar – on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Meanwhile, India also kept a check on Pakistan’s military movement near the Line of Control. However, a senior government source said that after Balakot airstrike Pakistan’s Agosta-class submarines – PNS Saad, vanished from the Pakistani waters.
As PNS Saad – one of the most technologically advanced submarines of the Pakistan Navy disappeared, the Indian Navy was put on high-alert to track the submarine, which has an air-independent propulsion system that gives the submarine an ability to remain submerged for a longer period of time compared to other subs in its class.
“The location near Karachi, Pakistan, from where the PNS Saad vanished, it could reach the Gujarat coast in three days and the headquarters of the western fleet in Mumbai within five days and was seen as a major threat to the security of the country,” said a source close to ANI.
Immediately after receiving this report, the Navy deployed its anti-submarine warfare specialist warships and aircraft to track and the hunt for the missing Pakistani submarine.
“All the areas where it could have gone in the given timeframe, extensive searches were carried out by the Indian Navy. P-8Is were pressed into service to locate the submarine along with the coastal areas of Gujarat followed by Maharashtra and other states,” ANI quoted the sources as saying.
The Indian Navy took all the precautionary measures so as to ensure that the submarine had not entered Indian waters. The plan was to track the submarine and then force it to the surface once it was located and if need be then take stern action against it.
India had also deployed nuclear submarine INS Chakra near the Pakistani waters with clear instructions to keep looking for the missing Pakistani submarine and apart from this newly inducted Scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari was also deployed.
With each passing day, the Indian Navy kept expanding its area of search for the Pakistani submarine while also using reconnaissance satellites to help the ground fleet posted about any movements in India’s territorial waters.
Eventually, after 21 days of an extensive search operation, PNS Saad was located on the western side of Pakistan to protect it from any attack if hostilities between the nuclear-armed neighbours escalated. It was sent there for hiding in order to ensure a covert capability in case of extension in hostilities in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrikes.
Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma had said that Indian Navy’s overwhelming superiority forced the Pakistan Navy to not venture out in the open ocean. The Navy is maintaining complete surveillance of the Arabian Sea, especially Pakistani waters, and is aware of Pakistan’s naval activities in the area.
As per the sources, the Navy had deployed around 60 warships, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and its battle group in the North Arabian Sea.
“The overwhelming superiority of the Indian Navy in all three dimensions forced the Pakistan Navy to remain deployed close to the Makran coast and not venture out in the open ocean,” a statement by Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma had said at that time.