Strategic Impact Of Submarines In Indo - Pak Wars A Comparative Analysis


  • Naveed A Khan


Pakistan Navy, Indian Navy, PNS/M GHAZI, PNS/M HANGOR, INS KHUKRI, 1965 war, 1971 War


A lot has been written on the conduct of 1965 and 1971 wars by both Indian and Pakistani sides but most literature focuses on land warfare. Naval aspects of these wars are covered in the official histories and other books mainly written by Indian authors. No dedicated literature is available focusing on submarine operations. In 1961, the quest for submarines was commenced simultaneously by both Indian and Pakistani navies. The first submarine PNS/M GHAZI was acquired by Pakistan in 1964 whereas the first Indian submarine INS/M KALVARI was commissioned as late as 1967. The disadvantage of not having a submarine by IN was glaring in the 1965 war when IN was mostly confined to its own waters. In the 1971 war, both sides possessed submarines. Pakistani submarines created strategic cum tactical effects in both eastern and western theatres. PNS/M GHAZI’s over 3000 miles long voyage to the Indian east coast restricted IN aircraft carrier to Andaman Islands. PNS/M HANGOR’s sinking of  INS KHUKRI on 9 December 1971 with 18 officers and 176 men on board changed the balance of war after IN’s devastating attacks on PN ships and Karachi on 4th and 8th December 1971. This article is an endeavour to analyse the roles played by submarine arms of IN and PN in Indo-Pak wars. The article also examines as to why PN submarines were more effective at the strategic and tactical levels vis a vis their counterparts in IN. Due to dearth of credible sources, PN submarines’ narrative is built upon eye witness accounts whereas IN events have been taken from credible Indian sources.