The Indian Navy has undertaken massive deployment of over 60 ships, including an aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines near Pakistani waters in the Arabian Sea in search of `missing’ Pakistan’s fast-attack submarine PNS Saad. It has taken this exercise to prevent any misadventure by Islamabad, following the February 14 terror strike in Pulwama, by Pak-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, that killed about 40 Indian soldiers.
The search was carried out for three-weeks after PNS Saad vanished from Pakistani territorial waters shortly after the Indian Air Force conducted an air raid on a suspected terror camp in Balakot on February 26. The missing non-nuclear submarine powered with an air-independent propulsion system reportedly forced the entire Indian Navy to engage in extensive searches.
The Navy is said to have taken all “precautionary measures” to ensure that even if the Pakistani submarine had entered Indian waters, all steps were taken to make it surface. New Delhi allegedly dispatched its nuclear submarine INS Chakra and diesel-electric attack submarine INS Kalvari along the Pakistani waters and instructed to keep an eye on the movement of the missing warship.
After 21 days of large-scale searching, the Indian Navy ostensibly managed to locate the PNS Saad on the western side of Pakistan. The submarine is believed to have been sent there to ensure a covert capability in case tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad spiralled out of control in the aftermath of the Balakot strikes.
The tensions between the two neighbours, who have been embroiled in a conflict since 1947, were exacerbated by a deadly suicide bomb attack allegedly claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammad on a convoy of Indian military personnel in Pulwama on 14 February.