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India has kick-started the process to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines which will significantly boost the Navy's overall strike capabilities in the face of China's growing military manoeuvring in the Indo-Pacific region.
"It has kicked off and I will leave it at that. It is a classified project. The process has started," Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Friday.
He said the Navy will play its role in the Indo-Pacific region when the much talked about quadrilateral coalition among India, Australia, Japan and the US takes shape, reflecting the Navy's readiness to play a much more assertive role in the critical sea lanes.
In a major move, officials of the four countries earlier this month had set the ball rolling to pursue their common interests in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region where China has been aggressively expanding its military presence.
"We are all aware of the prevailing security scenario in our maritime domain. The continued presence of both traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime domain demand constant attention and robust mitigating measures," Admiral Lanba told a press conference.
On Chinese presence in the strategically-important Gwadar port in Pakistan, he said it may be a security challenge for India in future.
"It will be a security challenge. We will have to look at it and mitigate," he said.