Archive for July 29th, 2009

India Launches Nuclear Submarine Produced Domestically



New Delhi, India- Pakistan has stated that India’s launch of a nuclear submarine is a threat to regional peace and stability in South Asia.

The Foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit stated that “Pakistan will take appropriate steps to safeguard its security without entering an arms race.”

The submarine, unveiled at a ceremony on Sunday, will be able to launch nuclear missiles at targets close to 500 miles away.

At Sunday’s launch, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India had no aggressive designs on anyone. However Pakistan, India’s arch-rival, a fellow nuclear power, and a country that has fought three wars with India in the last 60 years, certainly feels threatened.

With the launch of the submarine, India has become only the sixth country in the world to build its own nuclear-powered submarine, until now only the US, Russia, France, Britain and China had the capability to manufacture its own nuclear subs. Till now, India had relied on Russian made submarines for its fleet.

The 6,000 ton Arihant will be deployed in a few years after trials and testing. The Hindi meaning of Arihant is “destroyer of enemies.” Up till now, India has been capable of launching missiles only by air and land with its army and air force. Now the ability to launch nuclear missiles and weapons by sea gives it a triple dimension to its already impressive armed forces in the region.

The submarine will have the ability to carry up to 100 sailors on board and will have the capability to stay underwater for long periods of time, making it harder to detect. Analysts believe that the Indian government is looking to not only have an upper hand against Pakistan by having nuclear submarines that the Pakistanis do not possess, but also are attempting to thwart any threats from China which has a huge major naval presence in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Nonetheless, the launching of the Indian nuclear submarine will only make an already nervous Pakistan do everything in its power to also either purchase submarines from China, Germany, France or other countries or perhaps start its own long term plans of keeping pace with India by developing its own nuclear submarines with or without assistance from its arms suppliers.

The region does not need a buildup and an increase in the nuclear arms race and one hopes that the two countries focus on diplomacy and a stalled peace process rather than arming themselves to the teeth. The region already is one of the most militarized in the world with three of the world’s exclusive nuclear club countries side by side with each other in Pakistan, India and China.

 Reported by Manzer Munir for

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