With the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant set to be launched for sea trials in few weeks, India will soon complete its nuclear triad giving it the capability to respond to nuclear strikes from sea, land and air-based systems.
Navy sources said INS Arihant was going through harbour acceptance trials phase where it did not face any hiccups and is ready for being launched for the sea trials, which are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
"INS Arihant will provide us with the option for sea-based strategic deterrence, the third leg of the triad," Assistant Chief of Navy Staff (Submarine) Rear Admiral L Sarat Babu told reporters.
Attaining a nuclear triad would be significant for India, which has a 'no first-strike' policy regarding the use of its nuclear weapons and requires a strong retaliatory capability as a deterrence.
He said the submarine achieved a major milestone by achieving criticality of its nuclear reactor on August 10 last year and "the next milestone would be when Arihant puts to sea for her sea trials."
"It would be Navy's efforts to provide every possible assistance and support during the conduct of these extensive 'first of class' trials," Babu said.
On the INS Chakra submarine leased from Russia, Babu said the vessel during its around one-and-a-half years with the force has been helping Navy hone its skill of integrating nuclear submarines across the entire spectrum of naval operations.
"Presently, a part of the crew comprises those who have been trained in India, thus indicating that Navy has also attained self sufficiency in training personnel for operating such complex platforms besides operations and maintenance," he said.
The officer said the size of Navy's nuclear submarine fleet would depend on the "maritime security dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and our extended neighbourhood would dictate our overall plans to augment our fleet."