India’s nuclear triad is complete with INS Arihant ending its first deterrence patrol

India’s nuclear triad is complete with INS Arihant ending its first deterrence patrol


  1. INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear ballistic missile submarine, has completed its first “deterrence patrol”, operationalising India’s nuclear triad.

Important Facts:

  1. The INS Arihant completes India’s nuclear triad by adding maritime strike capability to land- and air-based delivery platforms.
  2. All the big five nuclear nations namely US, Russia, France, China and the UK are already full-fledged nuclear triad powers.
  3. China reportedly began combat patrols of an armed nuclear-powered submarine in 2015.
  4. Pakistan last year tested its submarine-launched Babur missile, and in the process completed its nuclear triad, since it already possesses land-based ballistic missiles as well as tactical nuclear bombs that it can drop from its fighter aircraft.

  1. About Arihant:
  • The 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, under development for three decades under Advanced Technology Project (ATV) project comes under the direct control of the Nuclear Command Authority headed by Prime Minister.
  • It has a displacement of 6000 tonnes and is powered by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor with enriched uranium.
  • Arihant is presently armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km and will eventually carry the longer 3,500 km range K-4 missiles being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The second submarine in the series, Arighat is now undergoing sea trials after which it will be inducted into service.

7.     How INS Arihant is different from other submarines?

  • India has been vying to equip its naval forces with nuclear arsenal ever since it successfully conducted Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.
  • Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarines (SSBNs) equipped inside INS Arihant are different from conventional SSK submarines, which use a diesel-electric engine as their power source, and have to surface daily to get oxygen for fuel combustion.
  • SSBNs are bigger in size and are powered by a nuclear reactor and as a result, they can function submerged for months without having to surface.
  • This feature allows them to travel further and with greater stealth.
  1. Significance:
  • Given India’s stated position of ‘No-First-Use’ (NFU) in launching nuclear weapons, the ship submersible ballistic nuclear (SSBN) is the most dependable platform for a second-strike.
  • Because they are powered by nuclear reactors, these submarines can stay underwater indefinitely without the adversary detecting it.
  • The other two platforms namely the land-based and air-launched are far easier to detect.
  1. About Ballistic Missile:
  • A ballistic missile submarine is a strategic asset as it can fire city-destroying missiles from anywhere in the ocean and remain undetected for a long time.
  • It can sneak closer to the coast of an enemy nation and fire ballistic missiles deep into their territory, which otherwise cannot be reached by land-based short-range ballistic missiles.
  1. India’s “No First Use Policy”:
  • The country’s stated doctrine from January 2003 includes a pledge not to use nuclear weapons first but with a significant caveat, that nuclear weapons could be used if Indian forces are attacked with biological or chemical weapons.


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