India’s proud project INS Arihant has been fully operational since August, making India a new-entrant in “Nuclear triad” club of superpowers i.e. USA, UK, France, Russia and China who can launch nuclear weapons from sea, land and air-based systems.
According to the reports of NewsX, Prime Minister Modi “quietly” commissioned INS Arihant into the Indian Navy in August, adding that it has been fully operational since then.
India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant weighs 6000-tonnes and can launch nuclear weapons from underwater. It was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel Project at the Ship Building Centre. It is the lead ship of Arihant class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines launched in 2009. The project was under the supervision of Prime Minister’s office and involved agencies and establishments viz. the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Department of Atomic Energy and the Submarine Design Group of the Directorate of Naval Design, besides private companies such as Larsen & Toubro.
It went for its sea trials in December 2014, almost two years later than expected. The vessel’s miniaturized nuclear reactor, built with Russian help, went critical in 2013.
With regards to Russian help, it has been reported that the submarine’s design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarines, its 83 MW pressurized water reactor has been built with significant Russian assistance and its 100-memer crew has been trained by Russian specialists.
The benefits of such submarine are that its need to surface out of water is much less, so it can stay out at sea for longer period of times and its harder to track and destroy than land and air nuclear launch platforms.
India now holds the power of ‘second strike’ in a nuclear counter attack, even if the country is completely destroyed. INS Arihant finds relevance in India’s ‘No First Strike’ policy. However, the ‘First Strike’ policy of Pakistan allows it to use nuclear weapons against India even if India does not.