India has now officially become a country capable of Nuclear Triad which means the capability to fire nuclear weapon from land, air and sea. INS Arihant, the lead ship Arihant class attack submarines of Indian Navy carried out its first deterrence patrol demonstrating India’s capability towards a credible nuclear deterrent. India is the fourth country after United States, Russia and China to achieve the ability to launch nuclear attack form all three fronts. France was formerly a member of this club.
“I congratulate all those involved, especially the crew of INS Arihant for this accomplishment, which will always be remembered in our history,” tweeted PM Modi. Earlier, India had INS Chakra which was taken on lease from Russian Navy for 10 years to launch nuclear attacks from water, it was commissioned in 2012. Now India has a domestically manufactured nuclear powered attack submarine with INS Arihant’s successful deterrence patrol.
Now India could fire nuclear weapons from underwater with INS Arihant which is the first of the five 6,000 tonne vessels to be built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Visakhapatnam. The second nuclear submarine named Arighat is expected to be commissioned in next few years. These submarines could be in water for many months and are part of top secret project of the country to manufacture five such submarines to establish hegemony over Indian Ocean. In another tweet PM Modi said “In an era such as this, a credible nuclear deterrence is the need of the hour. The success of INS Arihant gives a fitting response to those who indulge in nuclear blackmail.”
This statement by PM Modi is aimed towards neighboring countries like Pakistan and China. The western neighbor has repeatedly reminded India of its nuclear capabilities out of frustration. Pakistan has at various times threatened about use of nuclear weapons, in particular the use of so-called tactical nukes. As India now possesses a credible second-strike capability, Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail would now be rendered a nuclear bluff at best. Defense Minister, Nirmala Sithraman also congratulated the armed forces on the entry into elite group and tweeted “India has achieved completion of her nuclear triad with the first successful deterrence patrol by INS Arihant. This places India in the league of the few countries that can design, construct and operate Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarines (SSBN).”
Now countries like Pakistan must realize that the nuclear policy of India is taking a shift to ‘nuclear ambiguity’ from ‘no first use’. However, the official line still remains ‘no first use’ but warning the enemies to stop ‘nuclear blackmail’ definitely suggests a strategic move. The ‘rogue’ neighbor at western front tested submarine launched Babur missile to compete nuclear triad as it already has ballistic missiles with range covering India and a good number of nuclear bombs which it can drop from its fighter aircrafts. However, the capabilities of Pakistan are still very low as compared to India. It neither has a nuclear submarine with a capability of 6,000 tonnes nor does it have advanced fighter aircrafts like Rafale. Majority of its equipments are acquired from United States to fight against terrorism on northwestern frontier. As the Trump administration no longer wants to help Pakistan in any way, the only option it is left with is China. Therefore, for all practical reasons it has become a ‘colony’ of China and it compels India to prepare for ‘two front war’.
In recent years, China has increased its activities in South China Sea and Indian Ocean which forced India to enhance its naval capabilities. Indian Ocean is strategically very important to India and as long as it has control over the trade routes going through India Ocean, no country could challenge its hegemony in the region.