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Nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant carries successful launch of ballistic missile


India's nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant

NEW DELHI (PTI):  India's nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant has carried out a successful launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the Bay of Bengal with a "very high accuracy", the defence ministry said.

It said all operational and technological parameters of the weapon system have been "validated".

The missile launch last Friday is seen as a major milestone to further boost India's strategic strike capabilities.

"INS Arihant carried out a successful launch of a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) on October 14. The missile was tested to a predetermined range and impacted the target area in the Bay of Bengal with very high accuracy," the ministry said in a statement.

It said "all operational and technological parameters of the weapon system have been validated".

India's nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) programme is a closely guarded project. INS Arihant was the first boat under the SSBN project that was followed by another boat, INS Arighat.

In a statement, the defence ministry said the SSBN programme is a key element of India's nuclear deterrence capability.

It said a "robust, survivable and assured retaliatory" capability is in sync with the country's policy to have 'credible minimum deterrence' that underpins its 'no first use' commitment.

"The successful user training launch of the SLBM by INS Arihant is significant to prove crew competency and validate the SSBN programme, a key element of India's nuclear deterrence capability," the defence ministry said.

"A robust, survivable and assured retaliatory capability is in keeping with India's policy to have 'credible minimum deterrence' that underpins its 'no first use' commitment," it said.

INS Arihant is India's first home-made nuclear submarine. It was launched in July 2009 and was quietly commissioned in 2016.

India is among a select group of countries having nuclear-powered submarines. The countries that have such assets are: the US, Russia, the UK, France and China.

India has been a leading voice in pitching for universal nuclear disarmament aimed at complete elimination of atomic weapons.

In 1998, India conducted Pokhran-II nuclear tests, triggering strong reactions from many countries. Following the tests, India maintained that it carried out the tests to have 'credible minimum deterrence' and it will follow the approach of "no first use".

In 2003, India officially came out with its nuclear doctrine that clearly elaborated on the 'no first use' policy.

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