ISLAMABAD - India is eyeing six non-nuclear submarines to beef up naval force in line with its hegemonic design in the Indian Ocean.

According to media reports, Indian Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba just concluded his weeklong visit to Russia to finalise the crucial deal which experts said would adversely impact the strategic balance in the region.

On the first day of his visit, Admiral Lanba held bilateral discussions with Russian counterpart Admiral Vladimir Korolev, commander-in-chief of the Russian Federation Navy.

He also had interactions with General VV Gerasimov, chief of general staff and first deputy defence minister of the Russian Federation and Dmitriy Shugaev, director, Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of the Russian Federation.

A statement of Indian Navy carried in Moscow-based Sputnik News indicated that India and Russia remain undeterred by US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act and is likely to soon clear pending deals in the maritime domain.

It further reported that only last month, India and Russia concluded a $1.5 billion guided missile frigate deal under which two 3,620-ton Admiral Grigorovich-class vessels will be purchased off the shelf by India, while two other frigates will be built at a state-owned shipyard in Goa, southern India.

India has so far leased two nuclear-propelled submarines from Russia, including the Chakra, which is currently in service.

Admiral Lanba  also visited the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and delivered a talk on the “Indian Navy’s Perspective on Maritime Security”.

On July 6, Sputnik reported that India and Russia had started discussions on joint construction and development of a nuclear submarine at a very cost effective rate at an Indian shipyard.

Going by the proposal, the two countries intend to develop a prototype for under $200 million following which the Russian firm would transfer the technical know-how and related documents to the Indian shipyard.

On the other hand, relations between Pakistan and Russia are on fast track and evolving into a mature partnership. The military to military ties between the two countries are being strengthened. Apart from land forces, relations between the navies of the two countries are also being strengthened.

Last week, naval forces of Pakistan and Russia held naval drills in the North Arabian Sea to promote capacity of joint operations between the two navies.

According to a statement issued by Pakistan Navy spokesperson, ships of Pakistan Navy and Russian Navy carried out war operations during the exercises. During their visit to Karachi Port, officers of the Russian Navy held meetings with Field Commander of Pakistan Navy and laid wreath at mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Moreover, Pakistan has stepped up efforts to enhance capacity of its navy through collaboration with China. Pakistan in collaboration with China will manufacture 8 submarines for its maritime force.

“The production will start in one to one-and-a-half-year time,” said Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Project Director Commodore M Jahanzeb Ahsan at the IDEAS 2018, a 4-day-long event concluded last week at the Karachi Expo Centre. “Half of the 8 submarines of advanced version will be developed in China while the other half in Pakistan,” said Commodore Ahsan.

Pakistan and China developed understanding for manufacturing of the submarines in 2011, he said.

The top 3 countries with the highest number of submarines in the world are; North Korea with 86, China 73 and US 66.