Indian Navy’s nuclear sub and China’s encirclement

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Nuke submarine INS Arihant launched
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Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Sunday July 26, 2009, New Delhi
 
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India on Sunday joined the select club of countries having nuclear submarines. So far only US, Russia, China, France and Britain have nuclear submarines.

India's own, INS Arihant, the first nuclear-powered submarine made its first dive on Sunday. A nuclear submarine is one of the most potent weapons.

This is India's first step towards acquiring second-strike capability, that is, the ability to retaliate in case of a nuclear attack. But this is just step one, it has three more crucial steps to go – harbour and deep sea trial – when its systems are tested and finally a weapons trail. Even then military superpower status with an ability to fire nuclear weapons from the deep sea undetected may evade India.

"If you specifically look at the triad, the second strike capability, it is dependent on the range of the submarine launched. Ballestic missile can reach all parts of the enemy. In our case, without having to go to the surface through the Mallaca strait or Singapore strait," said Vice Admiral A K Singh (Retd), Former Captain, INS Chakra.

It will take another two to three years before Arihant is deployed by the navy. And at least another seven years before India is able to build its second nuclear submarine. Arihant's design and capabilities may need fine tuning, which poses many new challenges for the navy.

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