In a big step towards securing India's nuclear deterrence capabilities, the reactor on board the indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant is set to become operational within three weeks. The submarine, which is over 100 metres long, has been undergoing trials in Visakhapatnam for the last three years .
Dr VK Saraswat, the chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO, shared these exclusive details with NDTV (Read: Transcript of full interview
). He said that once the Indian-made enriched uranium nuclear reactor - which has been in development for two decades - becomes operational, INS Arihant will be ready for sea-trials and will subsequently be commissioned. (Watch
The induction of INS Arihant into the Indian Navy's fleet will complete the crucial link in India's nuclear triad - the ability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea. So far, the US, Russia, France, China, and the UK have the capability to launch a submarine-based ballistic missile.
Though this comes as good news for India's defence capabilities, there is some concern over the overall strength of India's submarine fleet. India has 14 conventional submarines that run on either battery or diesel and are aging and outdated. Each of them will have completed the standard life-span of 25 years by 2017.