Egyptian Navy rescued Sindhurakshak in April

Months before the explosions at the Mumbai naval harbour, the Sindhurakshak had a close call as it got stranded during a severe storm in the Mediterranean Sea while on its way back to India.

The submarine, with a crew of 58, was in serious danger of damage after it was hit by the storm while nearing the port of Alexandria, and was rescued by the Egyptian Navy after an emergency call from the Indian side.

Sources said the Sindhurakshak, which was returning after a major refit in Russia, was on the surface in shallow water near Alexandria when it was hit by bad weather. Help was sought from the port authorities in Alexandria but they refused to send tugs due to the serious weather conditions.

As the submarine could not even submerge to escape the storm due to the shallow water, an emergency call was made to the Egyptian Navy, after the intervention of the Ministry of External Affairs. The Egyptian Navy then deployed its latest tugs.

"It was an extremely difficult operation to tow the submarine safely as the severe storm made rescue operations very risky. The very professional job by the Egyptians saved the day," said an official.

We enhanced submarine's safety, says Russian firm

The Russian shipyard that upgraded the INS Sindhudarshak said it had installed advanced weaponry to enhance the submarine's "combat capability and safe operation". Zvyozdochka, part of the Unified Shipbuilding Corporation that specialises in repairs and recycling of nuclear submarines, said it had signed a contract with the Indian defence ministry in 2010 to carry out maintenance and upgrade the submarine.

The Severodvinsk-based shipyard said a modern Club-S missile system was installed on the submarine together with more than 10 Indian and foreign systems.

"The coolant system has been modernised; a Porpoise radar has been installed and other works have been carried out to enhance the submarine's combat capability and safe operation," Russian news agency Itar-Tass quoted a Zvyozdochka official as saying. PTI

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