Ex-CNS Admiral Arun Prakash’s view on Sub production

Another valuable reaction to my sub production piece, with a quite different perspective, from the former Navy chief, Admiral Arun Prakash


Timely piece, but a couple of points for consideration.
One of the problems with the Russians is that they
have done ZERO HAND HOLDING so far; only cash & carry at increasingly exorbitant
prices. Product-support abysmal.
Defence PSUs have ‘built’ 800+ MiG-21s and a couple of thousand RD-11/13s ;
but for an upgrade we had to go back to Moscow/Tel Aviv. The same for T-72s.
They have steadfastly refused to part with the ram-jet technology of the ‘joint’
BrahMos SSM.
In an interview, when queried about ToT, Komardin of ROSOBERON told the journalist,
‘your people don’t seem interested in it’. Possibly true, but…………
About the subs. Our boys have learnt very little about design normatives because the
blueprints have (and will) all come from Russia. The Rubin design bureau
employs thousands of naval architects, who have centuries of design experience under
the belt while we have a few dozen; and confidence levels are low, because they haven’t
been allowed to design one yet.
Finally, just as Gorshkov nearly killed the indigenous carrier programme,
a second leased SSN may smother all chances of a truly indigenous ATV emerging
by diverting funds and manpower.
It (leased SSN) plays no role in strategic deterrence, and a limited one for training.
Then there will always be unstated/lingering doubts about:
(a) its employability in combat (who pays for damage or loss?) and
(b) possibility of on-board weapons being disabled remotely through embedded
software. Let us build our own – no matter how long it takes for DAE to design
a reactor.


अरूण प्रकाश
Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd)

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, Defence Industry, DRDO, Europe, Geopolitics, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, Military Acquisitions, Missiles, Relations with Russia, Russia, russian assistance, russian military, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Ex-CNS Admiral Arun Prakash’s view on Sub production

  1. RV says:

    Well said Admiral! I hope India had more people with your outlook! 60 years of “tender hand holding” by various nations, have only led to even more “snouts in the trough” (and even more garish parties in farm houses near Delhi)i The Indian “trough” is now nearly empty.

  2. RV says:

    Admiral, I have a minor rejoinder to your very fine input. Giving the DAE *time* to do anything would be akin to putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. A mixture of sizable personal incentives to technical personnel coupled with the use of the gelding knife for laziness and avoidable failures would be a more appropriate approach.

    • hello sir,


      i think what is required is contineous efforts by the concerned personnel. it is a long process to get success in any field. i read somewhere, it took nearly 30 years of trial and error to invent steam engine to run the trains . who can put in so much efforts in india to invent any thing new when so much has already been invented ?

      also, perhaps ,we, in india do not give so much importance to the person who works hard but prefer some one who is more adjustable/suitable.

  3. RV says:

    Notwithstanding Adm. Arun Prakash’s views, one should ask as to why do the issues he discusses not occur in the case of China but repeatedly occur with India? The partial answer is two-fold. First, it is a LOT more difficult and dangerous for a Chinese power-that-be to co opt with foreign powers to subvert Chinese interests. In India, this is almost a daily occurrence. Next, China has laid a world-class science and technology educational, research and industrial infrastructure. Comparatively, India’s efforts in this area are a pathetic joke.

    The Chinese science and technology system tries to utilize every talent available to it. In comparison, the Indian system, which eliminates rather than selects talent, does quite the opposite. Finally, does Adm. Arun Prakash think that India could ever build the Arihant class boats indigenously without Russian help? Is there any other country which would render such assistance to India that Adm. Arun Prakash can cite with concrete examples?

    • Garg says:

      Simple solution – let L&T build both diesel and nuclear subs. Forget Hindustan Shipyard and MDL. Or sell MDL to L&T.

      This country has achieved a lot in private sector, much more than you care to know.

      Let Tata and Mahindra build LCA. I can guarantee they will each build 3-4 times HAL’s rate with the same investment.

      This country has been eaten alive by Nehru’s socialism. It is not the people.

  4. Garg says:

    Adm. Arun Prakash is 100% right. India will learn the hard way when foreign weapons fail to work when needed most. No country can become powerful on the strength of imported weapons.

    India must build own subs – both diesel and nuclear powered. India needs to learn that pain in peacetime is much better than pain in wartime.

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