Pak Navy claimed to have warded off an Indian Submarine, Kalwari on 1st March 2022. The activity was intercepted by Pakistan’s Anti-Submarine warfare. Pakistan Navy with its unrelenting vigilance and professional capability has once again thwarted the Indian attempt of entering Pakistan’s waters by spotting and gridlocking one off the latest Kalvari class Indian submarine despite having low-tech gadgets and minute standard of tracking. This reflects the unremitting vigilance and professional competence of the Pakistan Navy to safeguard the maritime frontiers of Pakistan vis-à-vis deplorable Indian maneuvers.
Ocean space is unarguably vast and the maritime interests of nations are widely dispersed. It is virtually impossible to monitor large swathes of ocean round the clock much less respond to activities that might endanger legitimate national or international maritime interests. Likewise, detection of a submerged submarine is not an easy proposition, even for the most advanced navies. And, this is even more demanding in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), where the depth-temperature profile of the sea vis-à-vis sound waves’ travel allows the enormous opportunity for a subsurface vessel to maintain its discretion. Yet, chance incidents could make the submarine detection and track possible but that requires a considerable focus, alertness, and sound professionalism.
Nevertheless, Pakistan Naval Forces proved their vigilance & competence by detecting/blocking Indian submarines from entering Pakistani waters. The recent incident being the fourth detection in the last 5 years is the reflection of the Pakistan Navy’s competence and resolve to defend the maritime frontiers of Pakistan. Seemingly, the Indian Kalvari class submarine was on an intelligence-gathering mission for ascertaining the Pak navy strategies, however, it got knocked by the Pak navy tracking system when it came to a snorkeling depth for charging the batteries.
The possibility of an Indian submarine, loitering into Pakistan’s waters, for gathering the military information and to have an eye over the ongoing Pakistan Navy Exercise SEASPARK-22 was already anticipated. ISPR chief has said that “Therefore, strict monitoring watch and stringent vigilance procedures were enforced. Resultantly, the Pakistan Navy Anti-submarine warfare unit took the lead and prematurely intercepted and tracked the latest Indian submarine Kalvari“. This is the front line unit of Pakistan Navy and had been entrusted with the tasks of Surveillance, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Vessel, Over the Horizon Targeting, Photography, Intelligence gathering, and Training.
According to the UN Convention on Law of Seas, a country enjoys absolute sovereignty over 12 nautical miles starting from its coast. Seeking from the UN Convention, the law itself doesn’t permit a country to carry its endeavors along the Exclusive Economic Zone and in the continental shelf of a country without its allowance. Primarily, the area under Exclusive Economic Zones surmises an area of seabed water and coastal water within a certain distance of a country cannot be entered without permission. Moreover, according to the Convention of sea laws, there is only one situation when allowance can be given and that is under the innocent passage in which the vessel passing should confer to the rules; it must not stop while sailing and should have a flag hoisted along.
Although it is apparent that submarine espionage violates the sovereignty of the coastal state in the territorial sea, it is unclear whether the operations are inconsistent with the law of the sea, or even international law more generally. Certainly undersea operations and spying in territorial waters without coastal state consent are not compatible with the regime of innocent passage in the law of the sea, but it is unclear whether they are lawful as “non-innocent” passage.
Read About Specifications of Kalvari Class Submarine
With that being said, the Indian Submarine has entered Pakistan’s water and violated Pakistan’s space. The Indian ambitions along the Indian Ocean and their maritime strategies are evidence of their hostile posture and this incident can be one of the episodes of those Indian hostile designs toward Pakistan. India’s belligerent and aggressive policies could spark strategic brinkmanship in IOR with disastrous consequences for regional security. Hence, to keep the equation balanced, a comprehensive and robust strategy to counter Indian hostile ambitions in Indian Ocean waters is the dire need of time.
Author: Saqib Khan
The writer is an International Relations graduate from National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad and is a freelance writer.