defence mechanisms

India is lagging far behind China in submarine race

India is rushing to counter China by building conventional and nuclear submarines with German, French and Russian help. But China’s lead is large and growing.

recent visit by an advanced Chinese Yuan-class submarine to Karachi, Pakistan, after traversing the Arabian Sea, worried Indian authorities concerned about China’s growing undersea-warfare capabilities – more than four times as large as India’s.

The submarine, with 65 crew, spent a week in Pakistan, refuelling and restocking, before sailing back to China. Yuan-class submarines are diesel-electric, but unlike Indian conventional submarines, which must surface to “breathe” and charge batteries, they are capable of staying submerged for weeks.

India now plans to lease a second nuclear attack submarine from Russia and the government has just approved a Rs 90,000-crore ($14 billion) plan to build six nuclear attack submarines in Vishakapatnam. But as Admiral P Murugesan, vice chief of naval staff, told The Economic Times last week: “We have started work, but we are still at the pen-to-paper stage.”

India is rushing to counter China by building conventional and nuclear submarines with German, French and Russian help. But China’s lead is large, growing and it plans to export its undersea expertise.

Particularly disconcerting for India are reports that China plans to sell eight Yuan-class submarines to Pakistan, at a time when Indian submarine forces are, according to this report, in “a state of crisis” and the country jittery about Chinese submarine power.

A conventional Chinese submarine berthed at Colombo’s port twice during 2014, sparking concern in India, leading to a Sri Lankan assurance it would not do anything against Indian interests.

Chinese Navy clearly ahead of India

India has 14 submarines – including one nuclear attack submarine, INS Chakra, leased from Russia in 2012 for 10 years – against China’s 68 and Pakistan’s five.

Most of India’s conventional submarines are more than 20 years old and are reaching the end of their service life, according to this report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence (2014-15), which said it was “dismayed” at the “snail-pace” of commissioning naval vessels.

The Indian Navy has commissioned two submarines and decommissioned five submarines over the last 15 years, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar said in a reply to the Rajya Sabha.

China launched or commissioned more than 60 naval ships and crafts in 2014. A similar number is expected through the end of 2015.

The Indian Navy has 141 vessels, including 127 surface ships and 14 submarines. The Chinese Navy has more than 300 surface combatants, submarines, amphibious ships and missile-armed patrol craft.


Sources(1) for India, (2) for China, (3) for Pakistan


Under the sea too, Chinese superiority

The Chinese submarine force currently includes 59 conventional or diesel-electric attack submarines and nine nuclear submarines. Of the nine nuclear submarines, five are nuclear attack submarines and four are ballistic-missile submarines.

Nuclear-powered submarines are of two types: attack submarines and fleet ballistic missile submarines.

Attack submarines are smaller and faster compared to their ballistic-missile counterparts. SSNs are designed to attack enemy ships and submarines using torpedoes and shore facilities with cruise missiles with conventional high-explosive warheads. SSBNs carry ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.


SourceIndian Navy


India’s first nuclear submarine was leased in 1988 from the Russian Navy and returned in 1991. The present nuclear submarine, INS Chakra, is considered one of the deadliest non-American attack boats in the world.

India has 9 Sindhughosh-class or Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines. They were built under a contract between Russia’s Rosvooruzhenie and the Indian Ministry of Defence. The other four are German-made Shishumar-class diesel-electric submarines (Type 1500).

India strives to expand submarine fleet

India plans to add 15 submarines: six conventional French-designed submarines, build six nuclear attack submarines (as we said earlier) and three nuclear ballistic-missile submarines.

The plan to build six French-designed Scorpene-class submarines is called Project 75. The first diesel-electric submarine of this class – INS Kalvari – was launched on April 6 2015 and is expected to be inducted into the Navy by 2016. The other five will be delivered to the Navy by 2020.

The Scorpene is a state-of-the-art conventional submarine, which incorporates advanced stealth characteristics that make detection difficult. The submarine features anti-ship missiles and advanced torpedoes.

Two submarines are to be built at the collaborator’s yard abroad (DCNS, France) and four within the country (three at Mazgaon Dock, Mumbai and one at Hindustan Shipyard, Vishakapatnam).

India’s first indigenously built nuclear-propelled strategic submarine, INS Arihant (Destroyer of the enemy), was launched in 2009 and is currently under trial. The SSBN gives India a nuclear triad of missiles that can be launched by air, from land and under the sea.

Another indigenous SSBN, INS Aridhaman, is also under construction, and work on a third will start soon, according to this report.

China already has three Jin-class SSBNs in service, according to this report, and may have eight in service by 2020.

A cheaper, quicker option: grow anti-submarine capabilities

To counter China’s growing submarine clout, the defence ministry on July 14, 2015, cleared a proposal to purchase four US-built P-8I long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) maritime patrol aircraft.

India already has five such aircraft, according to this report.

In May 2015, INS Kavaratti, a fourth indigenously-built ASW corvette, was launched. It has state-of-art weapons and sensors, including a medium-range gun, torpedo tube, rocket launchers and a helicopter.

India is in the process of finalising a contract with the US’ Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for 16 S-70B ASW choppers. The deal has been pending for the last 15 years.

Most Indian ships lack ASW helicopters at a time of China’s growing under-sea dominance.

This article was originally published on IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

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Hospitals can perform better by partnering with entrepreneurs and encouraging a culture of intrapreneurship focused on customer centricity.

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Most of these tech enabled solutions have emerged as hospitals look for better ways to enhance patient experience – one of the top criteria in evaluating hospital performance. Patient experience accounts for 25% of a hospital’s Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) score as per the US government’s Centres for Medicare and Mediaid Services (CMS) programme. As a Mckinsey report says, hospitals need to break down a patient’s journey into various aspects, clinical and non-clinical, and seek ways of improving every touch point in the journey. As hospitals also need to focus on delivering quality healthcare, they are increasingly collaborating with entrepreneurs who offer such patient centric solutions or encouraging innovative intrapreneurship within the organization.

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Getting the best from collaborations

Speakers such as Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and Managing Director - Medanta Hospitals, and Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD - Portea Medical, who spoke at the panel discussion on “Are we fit for the world of new consumers?”, highlighted the importance of collaborating with entrepreneurs to fill the gaps in the patient experience eco system. As Dr Trehan says, “As healthcare service providers we are too steeped in our own work. So even though we may realize there are gaps in customer experience delivery, we don’t want to get distracted from our core job, which is healthcare delivery. We would rather leave the job of filling those gaps to an outsider who can do it well.”

Meena Ganesh shares a similar view when she says that entrepreneurs offer an outsider’s fresh perspective on the existing gaps in healthcare. They are therefore better equipped to offer disruptive technology solutions that put the customer right at the center. Her own venture, Portea Medical, was born out of a need in the hitherto unaddressed area of patient experience – quality home care.

There are enough examples of hospitals that have gained significantly by partnering with or investing in such ventures. For example, the Children’s Medical Centre in Dallas actively invests in tech startups to offer better care to its patients. One such startup produces sensors smaller than a grain of sand, that can be embedded in pills to alert caregivers if a medication has been taken or not. Another app delivers care givers at customers’ door step for check-ups. Providence St Joseph’s Health, that has medical centres across the U.S., has invested in a range of startups that address different patient needs – from patient feedback and wearable monitoring devices to remote video interpretation and surgical blood loss monitoring. UNC Hospital in North Carolina uses a change management platform developed by a startup in order to improve patient experience at its Emergency and Dermatology departments. The platform essentially comes with a friendly and non-intrusive way to gather patient feedback.

When intrapreneurship can lead to patient centric innovation

Hospitals can also encourage a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization. According to Meena Ganesh, this would mean building a ‘listening organization’ because as she says, listening and being open to new ideas leads to innovation. Santosh Desai, MD& CEO - Future Brands Ltd, who was also part of the panel discussion, feels that most innovations are a result of looking at “large cultural shifts, outside the frame of narrow business”. So hospitals will need to encourage enterprising professionals in the organization to observe behavior trends as part of the ideation process. Also, as Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, points out, they will need to tell the employees who have the potential to drive innovative initiatives, “Do not fail, but if you fail, we still back you.” Innovative companies such as Google actively follow this practice, allowing employees to pick projects they are passionate about and work on them to deliver fresh solutions.

Realizing the need to encourage new ideas among employees to enhance patient experience, many healthcare enterprises are instituting innovative strategies. Henry Ford System, for example, began a system of rewarding great employee ideas. One internal contest was around clinical applications for wearable technology. The incentive was particularly attractive – a cash prize of $ 10,000 to the winners. Not surprisingly, the employees came up with some very innovative ideas that included: a system to record mobility of acute care patients through wearable trackers, health reminder system for elderly patients and mobile game interface with activity trackers to encourage children towards exercising. The employees admitted later that the exercise was so interesting that they would have participated in it even without a cash prize incentive.

Another example is Penn Medicine in Philadelphia which launched an ‘innovation tournament’ across the organization as part of its efforts to improve patient care. Participants worked with professors from Wharton Business School to prepare for the ideas challenge. More than 1,750 ideas were submitted by 1,400 participants, out of which 10 were selected. The focus was on getting ideas around the front end and some of the submitted ideas included:

  • Check-out management: Exclusive waiting rooms with TV, Internet and other facilities for patients waiting to be discharged so as to reduce space congestion and make their waiting time more comfortable.
  • Space for emotional privacy: An exclusive and friendly space for individuals and families to mourn the loss of dear ones in private.
  • Online patient organizer: A web based app that helps first time patients prepare better for their appointment by providing check lists for documents, medicines, etc to be carried and giving information regarding the hospital navigation, the consulting doctor etc.
  • Help for non-English speakers: Iconography cards to help non-English speaking patients express themselves and seek help in case of emergencies or other situations.

As Arlen Meyers, MD, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, says in a report, although many good ideas come from the front line, physicians must also be encouraged to think innovatively about patient experience. An academic study also builds a strong case to encourage intrapreneurship among nurses. Given they comprise a large part of the front-line staff for healthcare delivery, nurses should also be given the freedom to create and design innovative systems for improving patient experience.

According to a Harvard Business Review article quoted in a university study, employees who have the potential to be intrapreneurs, show some marked characteristics. These include a sense of ownership, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to look at the big picture along with the desire, and ideas, to improve it. But trust and support of the management is essential to bringing out and taking the ideas forward.

Creating an environment conducive to innovation is the first step to bringing about innovation-driven outcomes. These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott, which is among the top 100 global innovator companies, is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.