War Underwater - The Ghazi Attack


India has faced various wars against its neighbours. This has resulted in the martyrdom of thousands of soldiers. However, their martyrdom made the victory touch our feet. Even after getting defeated many times, Pakistan never stops its attacks. One of such events that unfolded right before the 1971 Indo-Pak war under the ocean but were never talk of. This attack was the fight between Indian Navy Submarine S21 or as it was named INS Karanj and Pakistani Navy Submarine PNS Ghazi. It was an astonishing fight because PNS Ghazi was considered as one of the strongest submarines. Only a handful of countries in the world acquired such a submarine.



INS Karanj

PNS Ghazi


4 September 1969

1 June 1964 (Acquired)


1 August 2003

2 April 1970 (Refit)



Lost under mysterious circumstances


1,950 t (1,919 long tons) surfaced

2,475 t (2,436 long tons) submerged

1,600 t (1,570 long tons) surfaced

2,453 t (2,414 long tons) submerged


91.3 m (299 ft 6 in)

95 m (311 ft 8 in)


7.5 m (24 ft 7 in)

8.33 m (27 ft 4 in)


6 m (19 ft 8 in)

5.2 m (17 ft)


16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) surfaced

15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) submerged

20.25 knots (37.50 km/h; 23.30 mph) surfaced

8.75 knots (16.21 km/h; 10.07 mph) submerged


20,000 mi (32,000 km) at 8 kn (15 km/hr; 9.2 mph) surfaced

380 mi (610 km) at 10 kn (19 km/hr; 12 mph) submerged

13,000 mi (20,000 km) at 10 kn (19 km/hr; 12 mph) surfaced

Test depth

250 m (820 ft)

120 m (450 ft)


This underwater event began when Indian Intelligence received a top-secret code from Pakistan to the Bangladesh which was East-Pakistan before 1971. The message was to keep their naval ships ready for an attack on India if required. They received several messages like these so Indian Navy decoded the messages and concluded that Pakistan was preparing for destructing INS Vikrant the aircraft carrier of India. It was also known as the 'Elephant of Indian Navy' because of its strength, capacity and power. It was reliant in covering almost half of Bay of Bengal. If Pakistan would have been successful in destroying this naval vessel then destroying various ports like Paradip, Vishakapatnam, Madras and Port Blair and eventually defeating India entirely. So Indian Navy deployed S21 the Indian Submarine for a recce operation. S21 completed their course of observation and were going to return to the port while they found that an Indian Merchant ship was destroyed which gave them a clue of the existence of PNS Ghazi in Indian territorial waters. So they decided to approach the leads they received and verify the enemy status. During the approach, they were hit by one of the land mine detached by PNS Ghazi and went deep inside the ocean. However, not losing hope they started the process of revival and they succeeded with some consequences such as shortage of food, engine failures, error in communication antennas, etc. 

After the revival, while they were surfacing they received SONAR signals of another water mines in the vicinity. They decided o blow it off so that the enemy would approach them for confirmation. Ghazi launched 6 torpedos which were brilliantly avoided by S21 and in return, it fired one torpedo towards Ghazi which hit it and it began to sink. This was a hidden mission although after few days traces of PNS Ghazi was found in the Bay of Bengal. 


There are several conspiracies filed about the disintegration and lost of PNS Ghazi. Here are a few of them. 

  1. It was destroyed by missiles launched by Indian Navy which hit the central part of PNS Ghazi. 
  2. It was destroyed by its own water mines planted underwater for destroying the enemy's ship.
  3. The water mines inside the submarine exploded which destroyed PNS Ghazi.
  4. Another conspiracy says that there was an excess of hydrogen gas available in the submarine.

These are some conspiracies although as per reports the central part of PNS Ghazi was destroyed which contradicts the second and third conspiracy as water mines are presented at the front and back of submarine along with torpedos.


It has been 46 years now but we are still unaware of the exact incident that took place that night in the Bay of Bengal. However, this incident played a major role in the victory of India in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. We are fighting for our reasons like fame but our soldiers put their life on the stake with any expectation of fame or even recognition for our safety. We salute such soldiers and their sacrifice for our Mother India. A movie was released in 2017 depicting the incident of this underwater attack with the name 'The Ghazi Attack'. It is an astonishing and inspiring movie which will increase the love for our country and its brave soldiers. 


30 Comment
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