India’s indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine which, would help complete a nuclear weapons triad, is all set to undergo year-long sea trials ahead of its planned induction by early 2015.
Indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant completed its harbour acceptance trials, which went on without any hitch at Visakhapatnam, and the vessel was now being readied for its sea trials that would be completed by end of 2014. “The 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 here on Tuesday. Nuclear weapons triad is the capability to fire nuke-tipped missiles from land, air and submarine platforms. The submarine-launched nuclear missile is said to be the best option due to the stealth and surprise element attached to it. The capability is critical for a credible nuclear deterrence that India seeks against any possible attack from its adversaries. The country has for over a decade followed its nuclear weapons doctrine of ‘no first use’.
Babu said INS Arihant had achieved a major milestone with its reactor attaining criticality on August 10, 2013 and “the next milestone would it completing the sea trials”.
“It would be the Navy’s efforts to provide every possible assistance and support during the conduct of these extensive ‘first of class’ trials,” he said.
The DRDO has already successfully tested a 700-km range submarine-launched ballistic missile in a submerged canister, and is waiting for a nuclear submarine to test it for operationalisation and future induction into the Navy. Once the weapon is tested on board INS Arihant, India would join the US, Russia, France and China in an elite club of nations possessing that capability.
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 the Navy hone its skill of integrating nuclear submarines across the entire spectrum of naval operations.
“A part of the crew comprises those who have been trained in India, thus indicating that the Navy has also attained self-sufficiency in training personnel for operating such,” he said.