INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear ballistic missile submarine, has completed its first “deterrence patrol”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yesterday. “I congratulate all those involved, especially the crew of INS Arihant for this accomplishment, which will always be remembered in our history,” PM Modi said.
The 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, under development for three decades under a highly classified programme, comes under the direct control of the Nuclear Command Authority headed by PM Modi. Having successfully completed the “deterrence patrol”, the INS Arihant can now be considered a fully functional underwater ballistic missile delivery platform.
“In an era such as this, a credible nuclear deterrence is the need of the hour. The success of INS Arihant gives a fitting response to those who indulge in nuclear blackmail,” he said.
A ballistic missile submarine is a strategic asset as it can fire city-destroying missiles from anywhere in the ocean and remain undetected for a long time. It can sneak closer to the coast of an enemy nation and fire ballistic missiles deep into their territory, which otherwise cannot be reached by land-based short-range ballistic missiles.
The INS Arihant completes India’s nuclear triad by adding maritime strike capability to land- and air-based delivery platforms. All the big five nuclear nations — the US, Russia, France, China and the UK — are already full-fledged nuclear triad powers. China reportedly began combat patrols of an armed nuclear-powered submarine in 2015.
The US, with 70 nuclear submarines, leads the race with Russia at the second spot with approximately 30 nuclear submarines. At the third sport are the European powers, France and the UK, with 10 to 12 nuclear submarines each.
Pakistan last year tested its submarine-launched Babur missile, and in the process completed its nuclear triad, since it already possesses land-based ballistic missiles as well as tactical nuclear bombs that it can drop from its fighter aircraft.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other union ministers tweeted to congratulate the Navy and the country on the successful patrol of the INS Arihant.