INS Arihant is a strategic asset but has little utility for India in conventional conflict

On 5 November, India announced that its Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear Submarine (SSBN), the INS Arihant, had completed its first deterrent patrol.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “India’s pride, nuclear submarine INS Arihant successfully completed its first deterrence patrol!” marking the first official acknowledgement by New Delhi of a sea-based nuclear deterrent.

This is, to begin, a commendable achievement. It was in the early 1980s that Indian engineers and scientists first began research and development on a reactor for a nuclear submarine.

The Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) was planned to be a technology demonstrator — an indigenous undertaking in which Indian planners would have little help, except from Russia that provided the nuclear reactor design.  Read More

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