It was announced yesterday in the nick of time, on the eve of the International Fleet Review, in fact, that the indigenous Arihant SSBN would not be seen, leave alone showcased in the event at Vizag inaugurated this morning. Small mercy this, but the boat was pulled from the Review altogether, with an aircraft carrier now placed as the lead Indian ship. It suggests the surfacing of good sense in NHQ, which initially thought nothing of exposing the country’s most decisive and invulnerable strategic weapons platform to the prying eyes of friends and adversaries alike, and changed tack (perhaps, because some senior naval officers picked up on the note of alarm in a previous blog on this site — what to speak of the inherent imprudence and foolhardiness of this action in not keeping the SSBN under deep wraps). Fortunately, the naval brass had not invested their ego in the earlier decision and, the mistake once pointed out, was corrected without ado. It has enhanced their reputation for strategic mindedness.
This is all to the good. Now the Navy can be preoccupied with scrutinizing the PLAN ships and submersible of the Chinese flotilla sauntering into our port and oceanic backyard and, on the side, carry on splendidly at the IPR with impressing states — both friend and foe, influencing littoral states on the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea in particular, and generating goodwill.