NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi received today the crew of Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine (SSBN) INS Arihant. The submarine recently returned from its first deterrence patrol, completing the establishment of the country's survivable nuclear triad.

Stressing the significance of the successful deployment of INS Arihant for the completion of India's nuclear triad, the Prime Minister congratulated the crew and all involved in the achievement which puts India among a handful of countries having the capability to design, construct and operate SSBNs.

The successful completion of the deterrence patrol ensures that India will have the necessary second strike capabilities with the country's nuclear shield now complete. A nuclear response option is only feasible if the country's nuclear triad- air, land, and sea, is ready for engagement with enemy forces.

As ET's Manu Pubby had reported in July 2018, the indigenously-built boat has been fully-operational and several weapon tests have taken place in secrecy that have proven the capabilities of the vessel.

The Arihant, which is the first of five nuclear missile submarines or SSBNs planned for induction, has also undergone deep sea dives off Vishakhapatnam where it was build. A Russian diving support ship —the RFS Epron that arrived on October 1 — has been accompanying the Arihant on its deep sea dives and launch tests, officials told ET.

The submarine is to be equipped with K-15 (or BO-5) short-range missiles with a range of over 700 km and the K 4 ballistic missile with a range of 3,500 km. “It has passed all tests and in many things has surpassed our expectations.

The Navy’s Submarine Design Bureau is also presently working on a new class of nuclear powered attack submarines (SSNs) that it hopes to induct within the next 15 years. The plan is to build at least six SSNs in India, with financial sanction given last year for the project that could cost upwards of Rs 90,000 crore. At present, the only nuclear powered platform in service is the INS Chakra, a Akula class SSN on lease from Russia.

India has put in place a robust nuclear command and control structure, safety assurance architecture and strict political control, under its Nuclear Command Authority. The country remains committed to the doctrine of Credible Minimum Deterrence and No First Use.