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India’s Kalvari stealth submarine starts sea trials

Kalvari, Indian Navy’s first indigenous Scorpene-class stealth submarine, on Sunday sailed out of Mumbai Harbour for sea trials even as the plan to purchase heavy-weight torpedoes for the vessel remains stuck due to the VVIP chopper scam.

India’s Kalvari stealth submarine starts sea trials
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Kalvari being launched at the Mumbai Harbour, on Sunday

Mumbai

Kalvari is the first of the India’s six Scorpene-class submarines being built under the much-delayed Project 75. The vessels are being built by Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) in collaboration with French company DCNS. In October 2015, Kalvari had been set afloat. 

“The sea trials of Kalvari have begun today. It is a proud moment for us,” a Navy official said. However, the plans to acquire heavy-weight torpedoes for the submarine is stuck in the Defence Ministry even though the Navy had been pushing for it, citing national security imperatives. WASS Italy, a Finmeccanica company, had emerged as a successful bidder in the procurement for the torpedoes for Project 75 submarines. 

Subsequently, because of the group’s alleged involvement in the VVIP helicopter case, the procurement was put on hold in July 2014. Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan, while stressing on the importance of getting heavyweight torpedoes, had said that the Defence Ministry will take a final call on it. 

The Navy has, at present, 14 operational submarines, including nine Russian-made and four German HDW vessels.

Parrikar to reveal chopper truth soon 
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday that he will place all facts along with the detailed chronology about the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal before Parliament on May 4. 
“I will place the chronology, giving facts about the chopper deal before Parliament on Wednesday. I will place the detailed chronology, giving how and when necessary clauses or provisions were relaxed to suit the firm,” he told reporters here on the sidelines of a function. 
“Those who received kickbacks will not leave behind the proof for us to prosecute them, but we will have to prove it (that kickbacks were received). Since the issue would be placed in Parliament, I would not like to speak in detail to the media,” he said.

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