India has joined efforts in the search and rescue operation for Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402 went missing with 53 people on board during a military exercise in the waters north of Bali on 22 April. The 1,300-ton naval vessel had on board 49 crew members, three gunners, and a commander whose identities are yet to be released.
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 the submarine. Rajnath also tweeted “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.”
Indonesia's military also seeking assistance from Australia, Singapore and India. Military authorities said they lost contact with the vessel, one of five operated by the Southeast Asian nation, during training exercises off the coast of Bali. According to defence officials, the vessel disappeared in deep blue waters about 95 kilometres north of Bali shortly after the vessel had been granted clearance to dive. The navy immediately deployed warships and a helicopter to find the missing submarine, but search went in vain.
The vessel has been in use since 1981, was rehearsing for a missile-firing exercise scheduled for Thursday.
Indonesian media reported that the navy believes the submarine sank into a trough at a depth of 700 meters. Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands, has been improving its military apparatus in recent years as it faces regional maritime challenges involving Chinese vessels near the Natuna islands. It plans to expand its fleet of submarines by three by 2024.