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NEW DELHI : Days after India commissioned an indigenously designed stealth-guided missile destroyer - INS Vishakapatnam, the Indian Navy is all set to add a new stealth submarine to its fold amid concerns of increased Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

The INS Vela will be commissioned on Thursday, the Indian Navy said in a statement.

It had been built by Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in collaboration with Naval Group of France.

The Indian Navy in its statement described the submarine as “capable of offensive operations that span the entire spectrum of maritime warfare."

“Induction of the submarine consolidates the Indian Navy's position as a builder's Navy significantly and adds sharpness and strength to its combat capability," it said.

The induction of the submarine comes at a time when the Indian Navy is looking to become a 170-ship force against the backdrop of China’s increasing naval profile in the Indian Ocean region, traditionally considered India’s sphere of influence.

Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade told reporters last week that the guided-missile destroyer 'Visakhapatnam' and Kalvari-class submarine 'Vela' would be big boosts for the Indian Navy. Ghormade had added that 39 naval ships and submarines were currently being constructed in various Indian shipyards which would help the Indian Navy reach its target to become a 170-ship force. 

At present, the Indian Navy has around 130 ships.

The INS Visakhapatnam, inducted last week, is equipped with an array of weapons and sensors, including supersonic surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, medium and short-range guns, anti-submarine rockets and advanced electronic warfare and communication suits, said another official.

The ship is the first stealth guided-missile destroyer of the 35,000 crore Project 15B under which four warships are being built. It has the capability of operating two integrated helicopters and boasts of a very high level of automation with sophisticated digital networks, combat management systems and integrated platform management systems.

One more destroyer in the Vishakapatnam’s class is to be commissioned in 2023 while the remaining two are to be inducted by 2025.

The submarine Vela is the fourth be built under Project-75. The remaining two submarines in its class are scheduled to be commissioned by end of 2023.

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