Why INS Arihant Does Not Give India A Credible Deterrent At Sea

by Swarajya Videos - Dec 29, 2018 11:39 AM +05:30 IST

In November, India’s only operational nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarine, INS Arihant, completed its first deterrence patrol.

This development signalled the operationalisation of the triad – that is, the capability to launch a nuclear weapon from land, air and water.

However, there are several reasons why INS Arihant does not really give India a credible nuclear deterrent at sea.

One, the success of the deterrence patrol suggests India has overcome some of the command and control challenges of maintaining a submarine nuclear force.

But, among other things, the fact that the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, a key part of the nuclear command chain, serves on a part-time basis while also discharging its duty as the head of one of the three services is problematic and needs urgent reform.

Two, the 750-km range of the K-15, which arms the boat, is far below what is required. When patrolling in the Bay of Bengal, INS Arihant can’t strike population and industrial centres in China and Pakistan, which are at least 2,000 kilometres from the northern-most and western-most edges of the water body, respectively.

The next missile in the series – K-4 – provides a solution. But the missile, which reportedly has a range of 3,500 km, is currently under development and a test is scheduled for January 2019.

And three, India remains far from matching China’s capabilities, both in terms of numbers and experience. Beijing currently has four SSBNs or ballistic missile submarines and India is likely to reach the same number, by the most optimistic accounts, only by the end of the next decade.

So, it’s safe to say, INS Arihant’s successful deterrence patrol is only the first step in what promises to be a long and onerous process for India in maintaining a credible deterrent at sea.

Till then, India still has critical gaps to fill in the sea leg of its nuclear triad.

Further Reading:

Big Win For India’s Nuclear Submarine Programme: INS Arihant Successfully Completes Its First Deterrence Patrol

Why INS Arihant’s First Deterrence Patrol Is Significant But Does Not Give India A Credible Deterrent At Sea

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments
Advertisement

Latest Videos