Rajnath speaks to Indonesian Def minister; assures support to trace missing submarine

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday spoke to his Indonesian counterpart Gen Prabowo Subianto and assured him of India's full support to Indonesia in tracing an attack submarine that went missing with 53 people on board during a military exercise in the waters north of Bali.

The Indian Navy has already sent a deep submergence rescue vessel (DSRV) to help the Indonesian Navy find the submarine that has been missing since Wednesday.

'Spoke to the Defence Minister of Indonesia, General Prabowo Subianto, over the phone and shared my pain over the news of missing submarine Nanggala and its crew members. India is extending its full support to the ongoing Indonesian rescue efforts,' Singh tweeted.

According to Indonesian authorities, the KRI Nanggala-402, a German-made submarine, went missing during the exercise around the Bali Strait.

A number of countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, are sending rescue vessels to help the Indonesian Navy find the submarine.

Singh said India is always committed to assist its strategic partners during times of need and that Gen Subianto has acknowledged and appreciated India's support to his country. 'I have already directed the @indiannavy to move its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) to Indonesia. I have also tasked the Indian Air Force to see the feasibility of induction of the DSRV intervention system by air,' he said.

Officials said Singh conveyed his pain and anguish over the missing submarine to Gen Subianto.

'I am extremely pained to hear about the missing Indonesian Submarine Nanggala with 53 crew on board. As a well wisher and a defence minister myself I can feel the pain and anguish,' Singh told his Indonesian counterpart.

The Indian Navy sent the DSRV following an alert it received through the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO) about the missing Indonesian submarine.

The submarine was reportedly exercising in a location 25 miles north of Bali.

Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said India is among a few countries globally which are capable of undertaking search and rescue of a disabled submarine through a DSRV.

Madhwal said Indian Navy's DSRV system can locate a submarine upto 1000 metres in depth utilising its state of the art side scan sonar (SSS) and remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

'After the submarine is successfully located, another sub module of DSRV- the submarine rescue vehicle (SRV) - mates with the submarine to rescue the trapped personnel. The SRV can also be used to provide emergency supplies to the submarine,' he said.

Under the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Indonesia, the two navies share a strong partnership of operational cooperation.

Madhwal said the two navies have been exercising regularly in the past and have developed synergy and interoperability which is considered important for the present mission. PTI MPB KJ KJ