India announces nuke-missile carrying sub INS Arihant is operational


New Delhi, Nov. 5: In a major strategic development,  India on Monday announced successful completion of its nuclear triad capability by saying its nuclear submarine—the INS Arihant—had completed its first ever "deterrence patrol".


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Office said SSBN (Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear) INS Arihant recently returned from its first deterrence patrol, completing the establishment of the country’s survivable nuclear triad.

A "deterrent patrol" is meant to "deter" an adversary from launching a first nuclear-strike as Indian submarines loitering under sea can then launch the retaliatory strike within minutes. A nuclear powered submarine is needed for such patrols due to its ability to remain submerged and undetected for longer periods—several weeks in this case.


An SSBN runs on nuclear fuel and carries undersea-fired submarine launched nuclear missiles that can hit at targets thousands of kilometres away. Technology still does not effectively track or locate undersea vessels, more so in waters around India, which have high suspended particle or salt content. A submarine is capable of "pinning down" six-seven warships of the enemy just by installing the fear of the unknown. The ability of the submarine to remain submerged is what matters.

"Deterrent patrol" is a Cold War era (1945-1991) terminology and was the norm adopted by the US and the erstwhile USSR when their submarines trawled under sea for days. The two super-powers are known to have conducted more than 200 such patrols annually.

Stressing the significance of the successful deployment of INS Arihant for the completion of India’s nuclear triad, the Prime Minister Modi congratulated the crew and all involved in the achievement, which puts India among a handful of countries having the capability to design, construct and operate SSBNs. 


Meanwhile Modi noted that the indigenous development of the SSBN and its operationalisation attest to the country’s technological prowess and the synergy and coordination among all concerned.


A statement issued by India said that as a responsible nation, India has put in place a robust nuclear command and control structure, effective safety assurance architecture and strict political control, under its Nuclear Command Authority. It remains committed to the doctrine of Credible Minimum Deterrence and No First Use, as enshrined in the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security in its meeting chaired by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on January 4, 2003.


Arihant, launched in July 2009, has been made indigenously. It is first of the three ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) that India proposes to build.


According to the Indian Media, China has developed two SSBNs that are termed as ‘Jin-class’ in military circles and these carry 12 N-tipped missiles. The Chinese Navy has been conducting patrols in the last decade. The US, Russia, UK and France are the other countries that have similar abilities.

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