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India now 6th member of Nuclear-submarine club

It may be a ‘baby’ but it’s a ‘boomer’ all right. India’s new stealth nuke weapon packs an awesome punch, armed with 12 nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles in four silos on its ‘hump’, as also a wide array of anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles and torpedoes.

India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine equipped with ballistic missiles, dubbed an SSBN or a ‘boomer’ in military parlance, INS Arihant was launched by flooding the dry dock at the Shipbuilding Centre here on Sunday.

Though it has only a 6,000-tonne surface displacement, less than half the size of the SSBNs fielded by the Big-5 nations, the 110m long and 11m wide Arihant surely lives up to its Sanskrit name, ‘destroyer of enemies’.

Even as his wife Gursharan Kaur did the honours by breaking the auspicious coconut on the submarine’s hull, PM Manmohan Singh said India had finally gatecrashed into the select club of five — US, UK, Russia, France and China — who can build and operate N-submarines.

But it will take at least two years for India to sit on its high table. INS Arihant will have to undergo harbour, sea and weapon trials before being termed fully operational.

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