Indian Navy hunted for Pakistani submarine for 21 days post Balakot

One of the most advanced Pakistani Agosta-class submarines - PNS Saad had vanished from the Pakistani waters

India pulled out its Navy from an exercise and deployed a major part of its fleet close to Pakistani territorial waters, including nuclear and conventional submarines post Balakot attacks. 

Because of the aggressive deployment of the naval assets by India, the Pakistanis were under an impression that New Delhi might use its maritime force to avenge the killing of its 40 CRPF personnel in the suicide bombing by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

India was continuously keeping an eye on the movement of the Pakistani military but after Indian Air Force hit the Jaish terrorist factory in Balakot, one of the most advanced Pakistani Agosta-class submarines - PNS Saad - vanished from the Pakistani waters, a senior government source said.

The vanishing act done by the PNS Saad fitted with Air Independent Propulsion (a technology which allows the submarines to stay for a longer period under the water than normal submarines) swung the entire Indian Navy swung into action. 

Sources said, "The location near Karachi 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."

The anti-submarine warfare specialist warships and aircraft were positioned to help in 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," the sources said.

The Navy had taken all precautionary measures to ensure that even if the PNS Saad had entered Indian waters, all necessary actions were to be taken to force it to come on the surface, and if required take military punitive action against it, the sources said.

Nuclear submarine INS Chakra had also been deployed in an aggressive posture along the Pakistani waters and instructed to keep looking for the missing Pakistani submarine. The Indian Navy's latest induction, Scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari, was also deployed in the hunt while their posture kept threatening Pakistan against doing any misadventure in the Indian waters.

As the days progressed, the Indian Navy kept expanding its area of search for the Pakistani boat and satellites were also used to locate it, meanwhile, the force was almost certain that the Pakistanis may have kept it hidden somewhere else.

After 21 days of an extensive search, the Indian Navy finally located the PNS Saad on the western side of Pakistan. It was sent there for hiding, to ensure a covert capability in case of extension in hostilities in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrikes.

As per sources, the Navy is maintaining complete surveillance of the Arabian Sea, especially Pakistani waters, and is aware of Pakistan's naval activities in the area.

The Navy had deployed over 60 warships soon after the tensions spiked, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, along with its battle group as part of a rapid redeployment in the North Arabian Sea. 

Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma had said at that time, "The overwhelming superiority of 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".