India has completed its nuclear triad by inducting the first indigenously built strategic nuclear submarine INS Arihant into service.
With this, India becomes sixth country to have a nuclear triad i.e. capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles. Other countries having nuclear triad are Russia, United States, United Kingdom, France and China.
INS Arihant was formally commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba in August 2016. However, it was kept secret owing to strategic significance.
What are features of INS Arihant?
- INS Arihant is nuclear submarine capable of carrying nuclear tipped ballistic missiles. Thus it belongs to class referred to as Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN).
- Its design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine. It was built with Russia’s help under Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project started in the 1980s.
- It weighs 6000 tonnes and is 112 metre long. It is powered by 83 MW pressurised light water nuclear reactor with enriched uranium fuel.
- It will be armed with the K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km. Later it will be armed with much longer range K-4 missiles (3,500 km range) being developed by DRDO.
- The vessel was launched in 2009 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Since then, it had undergone extensive sea trials and reactor on board went critical in 2013.
What is Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN)?
SSBNs are designed to prowl the deep ocean waters and carry nuclear weapons. They provide a nation with an assured second strike capability i.e. capability to strike back after being hit by nuclear weapons first. In case of India, second strike capability is particularly important as it had committed to a ‘No-First-Use’ policy as part of its nuclear doctrine.
Nuclear triad capability of India
- India is sixth Nation in the world to possess Nuclear Triad. It means that India is capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, land based ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles.
- India Army has strong arsenal of land based ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile). It includes Agni series, Prithvi series, Prahar Missile, Shaurya Missile, supersonic Brahmos and subsonic Nirbhay missiles.
- Indian Airforce (IAF) operates Jaguars aircrafts which are designed for deep penetration strike and can carry nuclear bomb. Besides, IAF also has SU 30 MKI and Rafale aircrafts which can also be used to deliver nuclear weapons.
- Indian Navy now has its own nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant capable of delivering nuclear weapons.