India’s first indigenously-made nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant has been commissioned into service.
The 6,000-ton, 110-metre-long INS Arihant (the Sanskrit name meaning ‘Slayer of Enemies’) is powered by a 83 MW pressurised light water nuclear reactor.
INS Arihant can deliver atomic weapons from land, sea and air. The vessel was formally commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba in August.
To maintain secrecy, it is not being referred to as INS Arihant, sources added. INS which stands for ‘Indian Naval Ship’ is affixed to a ship only after it is inducted into service.
With this India joins the select group of countries which have a nuclear triad, i.e. capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles.
Both the Defence Ministry and the Navy declined
to comment as the issue is out of their purview being a strategic asset.
INS Arihant is the first of three such SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines with long-range nuclear ballistic missiles) being constructed under the secretive ATV (advanced technology vessel) programme. The construction of the second one, INS Aridhaman, is also almost complete now, with its delivery slated for 2018.
INS Arihant's 750km and 3,500km missiles may be somewhat dwarfed by SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) with ranges of well over 5,000km with the US, Russia and China, but the completion of the nuclear-triad is critical for a country like India, which has a clearly declared policy of "no first-use" of nuclear weapons.
For several months, India has been concerned over the growing presence of Chinese nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean