New Delhi: INS Arihant, India’s first Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarine, which successfully returned from a Deterrence Patrol, has enhanced India’s security capabilities.
The 6,000-tonne vessel built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project completes India’s nuclear triad by adding submarine strike capability to land-and air-based delivery platforms.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who met the crew of INS Arihant on Monday on their successful return from a Deterrence Patrol said in his tweet, “Today is historic because it marks the completing of the successful establishment of the nuclear triad. India’s nuclear triad will be an important pillar of global peace and stability”.
He said in another tweet, “The success of INS Arihant enhances India’s security needs. It is a major achievement for our entire nation. True to its name, INS Arihant will protect the 130 crore Indians from external threats and contribute to the atmosphere of peace in the region”.
The experience during the strategic deterrence patrol has thrown up a number of lessons for the future.
India embarked on the goal for an indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project in the early 1980s when India was a target of various technology denial regimes.
Steel cutting for the submarine project, however, started only in end 1990s-early 2000.
From the time the nuclear reactor of the submarine went critical on 10 August 2013, till the time the deterrence patrol took place in October 2018, India achieved the goal of a deterrence patrol in merely 5 years.
Compared with China and other major powers like the US, the timeline in which India achieved the goal of deterrence patrol was much less. China took a long time before it could successfully deploy its nuclear submarines.
Its first experiment with the 092-Xia class SSBNs was not successful (conceive in the mid-1960s, it sailed only briefly in 1983).
The later version built with Russian assistance i.e. 094 Jin-class SSBNs also took many years to undertake its first deterrence patrol. USS George Washington (SSBN) achieved its deterrence patrol only in 1960 although the US had been building submarines since the early 1900s.
The combined efforts of the Indian Navy, the scientific community including Department of Atomic Energy & Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and their private sector partners and Strategic Forces, has enabled India to achieve this difficult goal.
This will have phenomenal spin-offs for conventional submarine building programme and local industry.
Given India’s nuclear doctrine of No First Use (NFU) and assured the second strike, the aspect of survivability becomes critical to ensure credible minimum deterrence.
INS Arihant’s Deterrence Patrol brings to a logical conclusion what India set out to achieve to ensure its security through the Pokhran nuclear tests in 1998.