Hmmm… Whether you like it or not, India today launched her first indigenously built nuclear submarine, INS Arihant. For those who sneer at the Indians, the good news is that it will not be operational for another two years while it undergoes extensive tests in the Bay of Bengal off the port of Visakhapatnam, where the vessel was built. On the bleak side, there will be four more built in the near future, with no privileges received from the superpowers, thank you. With this achievement, India joins the ranks of USA, Russia, UK, France and China.
For the technically minded, it is reported that INS Arihant (meaning ‘Destroyer of Enemies’) displaces 6,000 tonnes, is 126m long and has an underwater cruise speed of 24 knots. Powered by an 85 megawatt nuclear reactor, it will have a crew of 95 men and will carry an array of torpedoes and missiles including a dozen nuclear warheads. The nukes are likely to be India’s own 350 km range Saagarika and the 5200 km Agni-III. A 700 km K-15 missile with a nuclear warhead is also getting ready. Arihant also incorporates the VLF (Very Low Frequency) Technology for communication.
Arihant was built at a cost of $2.9 billion at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam. Code named Advance Technology Vessel (AVT), work on the project began in the 1980s. With India’s well publicised and sincere policy of “no first use of nuclear weapons”, there is little need for any raised eyebrows, except from Pakistan’s own secret police ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) and their Taliban blood brothers. May be, it is not a coincidence that INS Arihant was launched today, on the tenth anniversary of India’s victory at Kargil over Pakistani army and their Jihadi allies.
As I surfed through some international news channels, it was seen that news portals have chosen given credit to the Russians for the launch of INS Arihant. It is true that India has leased Russian nuclear subs in the past, but INS Arihant is India’s own baby. Not a single Russian scientist, admiral or politician was present at the launch in Visakhapatnam.
I now recall a joke, too near the truth for comfort. A few years ago India set off a peaceful nuclear explosion somewhere in the Rajasthan desert. Two days later, Pakistan retaliated by exploding its own device. President Musharaf was furious. He called his best General back to Islamabad from Kabul, where he was overseeing an Opium harvest with the Taliban and demanded why it took two days to set off the Islamic crackers. The General, glass eyed with too much sampling, replied that it was ready to go off in minutes, but sadly, the instructions were in Korean. Cheers.
1. About thirty years ago, my friend Michael Moraes accepted a commission with the Indian Navy and chose to work with the submarines wing, which must have been in the formative stages during those times. I have not seen him since, but my other pals tell me that he is top brass now. He must indeed be proud. Congrats, Mike.
2. The technical figures in this piece are taken from various news sources on the net and I found some significant discrepancies. Please write in with corrections if I am seriously wrong.