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US Guided Missile Sub Arrives in Middle East

The post by the Department of Defence unit appeared to show an image of the submarine moving through the Suez Canal

The US Navy has dispatched a guided-missile submarine to the Middle East. The posting was revealed by the military in an announcement late on Sunday. The unusual revelation regarding the location of the ship, which can launch nuclear missiles, suggests a show of force intended to try to contain regional tensions amid the Israel-Hamas war.

“On November 5, 2023, an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the US Central Command area of responsibility”, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter. The Central Command area includes the Middle East.

The post by the Department of Defence unit appeared to show an image of the submarine moving through the Suez Canal.

Since the war broke out on October 7 between Hamas and Israel, the United States’ closest regional ally, Washington has moved significant military assets to the region, including two aircraft carriers and extensive fighter aircraft.

It has also announced the deployment of around 1,000 American soldiers, and the engagement of an unspecified number of special operations commandos, who are “advising” the Israeli military in their Gaza operations.

In addition, Washington has taken steps to beef up the defences of its Gulf allies, with a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system destined for Saudi Arabia and Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to be sent to Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the build-up was aimed at deterring regional escalation and protecting the US and its partners.

“Since that Hamas terrorist attack we’ve also been crystal clear that we do not want to see the situation in Israel widen into a broader regional conflict,” said Ryder in an October 24 press briefing. “And as you’ve heard President Biden, Secretary Austin and other senior US leaders say, our message to any country or group thinking about trying to take advantage of this situation to widen the conflict is don’t.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelled on Sunday for talks with regional leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad.

US military assets have come under heavy fire from Iran-allied militias in Syria and Iraq, since October 7. During this time, such groups have waged dozens of attacks at US bases, with the most severe wounding 21 US military personnel in al-Tanf garrison in Syria and Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on  October 17 and 18.

Each SSGN can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, which is 50% more than what US guided-missile destroyers can carry and nearly four times what the US Navy’s newest attack subs can carry.

Each Tomahawk can carry a high-explosive warhead weighing up to 1,000 pounds.

“SSGNs can deliver a lot of firepower very rapidly,” Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Centre, told CNN in 2021.

“One-hundred and fifty-four Tomahawks accurately deliver a lot of punch. No opponent of the US can ignore the threat.”

The magnitude of that firepower was demonstrated in March 2011, when the guided missile submarine USS Florida launched nearly 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Libya during Operation Odyssey Dawn. The SSGNs were used in combat for the first time during the attack.

The military makes few announcements about the movements and operations of its fleet of ballistic and guided missile submarines. The nuclear-powered ships, on the other hand, operate in near-complete secrecy.

The announcement sends a clear message of deterrence to Iran and its regional proxies. The submarine joins other US Navy assets already in the area, including two carrier strike groups and an amphibious ready group.

The USS Florida, one of the two East Coast-based SSGNs, was operating in the Middle East in April, according to the Navy.

The Navy announced in June that one of its two West Coast-based SSGNs, USS Michigan, would visit South Korea as a show of US commitment to its Indo-Pacific allies.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Israeli counterpart, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, on Sunday. In addition to emphasising the importance of protecting civilians and providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, Austin stated that the US was committed to deterring “any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this conflict,” a clear reference to Iran and the Iran-backed armed group Hezbollah.

There have been numerous low-level attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed groups, but the US has made it clear that larger attacks will result in a major response.

According to Austin, the additional forces in the region are intended to “bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for US forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel.”

“We will do everything and take all necessary measures to protect US forces and our interests overseas,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said October 23. “Again, no one wants to see a widening conflict, and that is our primary goal, but we will also never hesitate to protect our forces.”

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INS Vagir commissioned into the Indian Navy

It can also launch marine commandos for special ops, has a state-of-the-art torpedo decoy system and its powerful diesel engines can quickly charge batteries for stealth missions, said the officials…reports Asian Lite News

In order to boost boost Indian Navy’s capability to further India’s maritime interests in deterring the enemy, the fifth submarine in the Kalvari Class, INS Vagir, built by the Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd., was commissioned here on Monday in the presence of Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, a defence official said.

Adding to the Navy’s fighting prowess, the INS Vagir — literally meaning a sand shark symbolising stealth and fearlessness — has been indigenously built with technology transfer from France.

Officials said it will further boost the Navy’s capabilities to further Indian maritime interests in deterring enemies, for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance to provide a decisive blow in times of crisis.

INS Vagir — the third submarine to be commissioned into the Indian Navy in two years — comes with a sophisticated weapons package, the best of the sensors in the world, mine-laying, wire-guided torpedoes, sub-surface to surface missiles capable of neutralising a large enemy fleet.

It can also launch marine commandos for special ops, has a state-of-the-art torpedo decoy system and its powerful diesel engines can quickly charge batteries for stealth missions, said the officials.

INS Vagir comes with a glorious legacy with a submarine of the same name commissioned in November 1973 which was decommissioned in January 2001 after three decades of valorous service to the nation.

ALSO READ-INS Mormugao: India’s latest stealth warship commissioned to Navy

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Russia’s giant nuclear submarine pressed into service

Belgorod is designed to carry Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drones, reports Asian Lite News

The Russian navy has received the first submarine Belgorod which is designed to carry Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drones.

The submarine opens new opportunities for Russia to implement various scientific research tasks and conduct rescue operations in remote areas of the oceans, Xinhua news agency quoted Nikolay Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Navy, as saying at a ceremony on Friday.

The nuclear-powered Belgorod was floated out in April 2019 and was initially planned to be delivered to the navy in 2020.

Two more such submarines will be commissioned by 2027.

Russian President Vladimir Putin observes the progress of the joint exercises of the Northern and Black Sea fleets (Photo:

According to an earlier report by the TASS News Agency, the Poseidon drone is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 2 megatonnes to destroy enemy naval bases.

It can travel fast in an intercontinental range with an operational depth of over 1 km.

ALSO READ: Russia dismisses West’s ‘frenzied’ criticism

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UNEP Moots New Plan For Marine Protection

Regional conventions play critical role in marine protection: UNEP report … A special report by VISHAL GULATI

A series of regional conventions and policies are playing an essential role in monitoring climate change and preparing for extreme weather events, preventing oil spills, reducing plastic and other waste, saving coral reefs, and providing overall ocean protection and restoration of marine ecosystems.

These are the key findings of a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, whose authors call for expanding the scope of collaboration on regional seas in the coming decade.

The report — Contributions of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to a Healthy Ocean — draws on a series of case studies which examine the cumulative impact of these conventions and policies over the past 45 years.

Through a robust body of evidence, the UN-led Regional Seas Programme — which produced the report — convenes and coordinates countries and institutions, and undertakes ecosystem-based planning and management to progress towards a healthy ocean and healthy people.

The Regional Seas Programme aims to bring all relevant stakeholders together to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through a “shared seas” approach. Since its establishment in 1974, 146 countries have joined 18 Regional Seas.

Through cultivating joint scientific research, policy development and implementation, this network of regional policies has become one of the cornerstones of protection, conservation, and restoration of marine and coastal environments, it said.

Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division, said: “Marine pollution, invasive species and natural habitat loss, excessive extraction, and ocean acidification all share one common trait: they do not respect national borders.

“Regional Seas demonstrate what can be achieved by working together for common goals at a regional scale. To secure the livelihoods of over three billion people, Regional Seas must not only be recognised, but their mandate ought to be expanded.”

Activities across regions are organised through Regional Action Plans for data collection and sharing best practices, addressing capacity needs (including of women, youth and indigenous peoples), mobilising financial and technical resources to support research and implementation, as well as monitoring and evaluation of ocean conditions and policy responses.

Some of the impacts of Regional Seas are in marine pollution, biodiversity protection, and scientific knowledge-sharing.

As many as 21 legally binding agreements relating to marine pollution have been adopted. These have, for example, increased preparedness to combat oil pollution incidents and spills in the Caspian Sea and the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) has successfully mitigated the impacts of an oil tanker collision outside of Kamarajar Port in India in 2017.

The 2013 Barcelona Convention for the Mediterranean has dramatically improved marine litter management across 10 Mediterranean countries, contributing to a 39 per cent reduction in beach marine litter and seafloor macro-litter from 2016 to 2019.


In the Pacific, the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Elsewhere, Regional Seas have been integral to the development of early warning systems, nutrient reduction, and the adoption of the Polluter Pays principle.

Regional Seas play a pivotal role in the creation of Marine Protected Areas across the world, and the Green Fins Initiative in the East Asian Seas, the Caribbean, Red Sea and Pacific regions brings together over 600 marine tourism companies in 11 countries.

Studies show that consequently dive operators have significantly lower reef contact (and hence reef damage), the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has introduced legal requirements for port inspection to prevent illegally landed fish from entering trade, mapping of capture and trade hotspots and a threats assessment have been jointly undertaken in west Africa, thanks to the Abidjan Convention, and in the Southern Ocean, Illegal Unregulated Unreported activities have decreased from around 33,000 to under 1,000 tons in less than a decade.

The UNEP report called on decision makers, policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders to enhance collaboration across all Regional Seas, including establishing formal coordination with other types of organisation such as Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, UNESCO and the International Maritime Organisation, increased awareness raising campaigns on the value of a healthy natural environment to sustainable economic development and human wellbeing.

It concludes with a call to donors, the private sector, and NGOs to recognise and prioritise Regional Seas as a solution to some of the key risks facing the oceans.

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‘Made in India’ Scorpene submarine delivered to Indian Navy

Project – 75 includes construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. These submarines are being constructed at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, under collaboration with M/s Naval Group, France…reports Asian Lite News.

‘Vela’, the fourth submarine of the Project – 75, Yard 11878, was delivered to the Indian Navy on Tuesday.

The submarine would soon be commissioned into the Indian Navy and enhance its capability, the Ministry of Defence said.

The submarine was launched on May 6, 2019, and has completed all major harbour and sea trials including weapon and sensor trials despite COVID restrictions.

Three of these submarines are already in commission with the Indian Navy.

Project – 75 includes construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. These submarines are being constructed at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, under collaboration with M/s Naval Group, France.

Submarine construction is an intricate activity as the difficulty is compounded when all equipment are required to be miniaturised and are subject to stringent quality requirements.

Construction of these submarines in an Indian yard is yet another step towards ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’, the defence ministry pointed out.

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Iran and Pak agree to work together on the marine industry

Iranian and Pakistani military commanders have agreed to cooperate in manufacturing military vessels and submarine maintenance…reports Asian Lite News

In a visit to Pakistan Navy’s shipyards in the port city of Karachi, Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, visiting Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, was briefed on the process of building warships, boats and submarines, Xinhua news agency quoted the state media report as saying.

The military officials of the two neighbours agreed to work together on the construction and maintenance of ships and submarines, according to the report.

The two sides also agreed to share experiences in various naval fields to fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, as well as exchange students.

According to a similar report by Iran’s official IRNA news agency, the military officials of Tehran and Islamabad also stressed for regional cooperation for ensuring the security in the region.

ALSO READ: Iran urges ‘practical’ steps, ‘tangible’ results in nuke talks

In the meantime, Baqeri drew upon the importance of maritime security at the common sea borders by conducting joint exercises.

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French envoys to US, Australia recalled over submarine row

According to French media, it is the first time in the history of France that such a decision was taken vis-a-vis these two countries, reports Asian Lite News

 France has decided to recall its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultations after Canberra scrapped a deal to acquire French-designed submarines and decided instead to invest in the US nuclear-powered submarines.

“At the request of the President of the Republic, I decided to immediately recall to Paris for consultations our two ambassadors in the United States and Australia. This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on Sept. 15 by Australia and the United States,” said French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian in a statement on Friday.

According to French media, it is the first time in the history of France that such a decision was taken vis-a-vis these two countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune said France cannot trust Australia in its ongoing trade talks with the European Union (EU) after the new security partnership called “AUKUS” (Australia-UK-US) was unveiled by the three countries on Wednesday.

A first initiative under the trilateral partnership will be the delivery of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet to Australia by the U.S. and the UK, while back in 2016 Australia signed a contract with France for the purchase of 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Le Drian on Thursday called the trilateral move a “stab in the back.” “We had established a relationship of trust with Australia. This trust has been betrayed,” he said.

“The American behavior worries me; this unilateral and brutal decision is very similar to what Mr. (Donald) Trump was doing,” he added.


Amid international worries about the proliferation of nuclear material and technology via the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said in a press release that it will “engage with them (Australia, the US, and the UK) on this matter in line with its statutory mandate, and in accordance with their respective safeguards agreements with the Agency.”

China has also voiced opposition against the trilateral move, describing it as a “sheer act of nuclear proliferation.”

Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, has said that “by openly providing assistance to Australia,” a non-nuclear weapon state, in its acquisition and building of the nuclear-powered submarine, it will “apparently give rise to proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies.”

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