With the successful deterrence patrol of INS Arihant, India has operationalised its nuclear triad by filling the missing link with this capability to launch nuclear capable missile from a potent maritime platform.
- India’s 1999 Draft Nuclear Doctrine had stated that its nuclear forces would be based on a triad of aircraft, mobile land-based missiles and sea-based assets.
- The summary of the official Nuclear Doctrine of 2003 also mentioned about maintaining a credible minimum deterrence, a posture of ‘No First Use’ and that any nuclear retaliation would be massive.
About INS Arihant –
- INS Arihant is India’s first indigenously built nuclear submarine. With it, India has taken a giant leap forward in technological sophistication.
- While India had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle, placing a smaller reactor in Arihant, leading to it becoming critical in 2013 was a complex process.
- With the first fully indigenously built and operated strategic strike nuclear submarine, India became the sixth country to join the exclusive league of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognised fully fledged nuclear triad powers – i.e. USA, Russia, France, UK and China.
- Earlier, India was vulnerable as land and air delivery platforms for nuclear weapons could be easily identified with satellites and other means.
- With a SSBN (Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear) in place, a fully functional ballistic missile becomes a strategic weapon which can fire missiles from ocean at very long ranges.
- Its advantage over land and air missile delivery platforms is that it can remain undetected for a long time. SSBN can strike a deadly blow to an adversary, firing ballistic missiles deep into his territory from afar.
- A major notable feature of development of India’s nuclear triad is that it is a prime example of a public-private partnership wherein several major Indian companies have collaborated to make INS Arihant, in consonance with ‘Make in India’ policy.
The future –
The planned induction of the next nuclear submarine – Arighat in 2020 and its later and bigger versions which will carry longer range Agni Missiles shows that the nuclear triad development is in right direction to ensure India’s strategic independence.
Way forward –
- In its quest to become a fully fledged nuclear triad power, India will have to be more diligent and efficient to master complex technological advancements needed to construct bigger SSBNs with longer range missiles.
- Secondly, it has to strengthen its command and control system, duly supported with continuous budgetary allocations.
- Thirdly, India should try to shorten the timelines wherever possible, including retaining the key personnel having the requisite expertise. It can also learn from the experience of some of the fully operational nuclear triad powers.
- Fourthly, the public private partnership should continue and private companies should be encouraged to join in this nuclear project.
- Lastly, it can learn from its own mistakes during the making of Arihant.
Successful completion of the nuclear triad has enhanced India’s strategic position. The road ahead will be more challenging to make India’s nuclear deterrent even more stronger and credible.
Source – VIF India
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