INS Varsha: India’s Secret Submarine Base
Hello defence lovers! In this article, we are going to discuss India’s Secret underground submarine base called ‘INS Varsha’. Indian Navy is developing an underground Naval Base in the Bay of Bengal near Vishakhapatnam. Built along the sea in underground chambers, the base is going to house India’s Nuclear submarines. In this article, we will try to understand how INS Varsha will be instrumental in strengthening India’s naval defence capabilities. We will also learn why such bases are required and why Vishakhapattanam has been handpicked for this.
[Note: the term “secret” is only used for illustrative purpose, all the information shared in this article are on public domain and no crucial data is being compromised]
History Of Underground Naval Bases
Underground naval bases like INS Varsha is not a new concept. These were quite common during the cold war era. The soviet union had constructed several such bases from where it used to operate its submarines. Some of these bases have been featured in many James Bond movies. Most of these bases were abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union and serve as museums today. Underground naval bases attracted worldwide attraction in the recent past when China constructed six such bases on its eastern coast and more than 60 Chinese submarines operated out of them.
Visakhapatnam And Its Strategic Location
The Headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command is situated in Vishakhapatnam. Over 50 warships of the Indian Navy operate from Vishakapatnam base. The landlocked natural harbour is an ideal position for a naval base. But the vicinity of the civilian container terminal and the containers ships which visit it always makes the Vishakapatnam port congested. That’s one of a reason why a new naval base is needed. Let’s understand the other reasons.
Why INS Varsha Is Needed?
Nuclear submarines are one of the most crucial assets in a country’s navy and keeping their whereabouts confidential is very important. The most significant threats are the enemy’s eyes in the sky- the spy satellites. These satellites watch every minute of movement in the ports. A nuclear submarine can remain in the depths of the ocean for months. Detecting and tracking a nuclear submarine quietly moving 200 meters under the sea level is almost impossible. But when these submarines leave or return to the port, these can be easily detected by the enemy spy satellites. Thus the confidentiality of the deployment of nuclear submarines can be compromised. It may provide the enemy with the information of the exact class and numbers of submarines being operated which may, in turn, give an idea of defence preparations that are being undertaken. In a war-like situation, no country will want such information to be revealed. In such situations, the whereabouts of SSBNs like INS Arihant and INS Arighat must be kept confidential. This is where underground naval bases become crucial.
INS Varsha And Its Features
Ins Varsha is being constructed at Rambilli, a coastal village that is 50 Km from the Vishakhapatnam base. The place was chosen for its characteristic underground chambers. These allow the submarines to enter and exit the base through tunnels. The submarines thus don’t require to come to the surface. Hence the submarines remain concealed from the enemy spy satellites. It would ensure the secret deployment of our nuclear submarines.
INS Varsha will have repair and maintainance facilities along with amenities for the crew to rest. INS Varsha will be big enough to accommodate our large Nuclear submarines such as the Arihant class and upcomming S5 and Nuclear attack submarines.
INS Varsha would be capable of withstanding even nuclear attacks. The knowledge that the enemy cannot destroy the most important element of India’s nuclear triad and would face massive retaliation which would annihilate the entire country, acts as a very strong deterant.
The proximity of Bhabha atomic research centre perhaps make Rambilli the perfect place for constructing INS Varsha. The construction and fitting of nuclear reactors can be done inside this secret base.
INS Varsha would be able to house atleast 12 big nuclear submarines at a time. Apart from that diesel electric submaines can also be operated from here.
INS Varsha is expected to be completed and operationalised by 2022. Once completed INS Varsha will be instrumental in protecting our National Interests and safeguarding our sovereignty.
I really doubt that the submarines would be able to enter and leave the base under the water (as in “The Secret of the Swordfish” of Edgar P. Jacob !!!). Usually, in those submarine base, the tunnel is on the surface.