Visakhapatnam: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur launched the country's first indigenously designed and built nuclear-powered attack submarine, INS Arihant, in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.
The INS Arihant will be commissioned in the Indian Navy after extensive outfitting and sea trials. It is the first of three such vessels to be built in the country and marks a quantum leap in India's shipbuilding capabilities.
Gursharan Kaur broke a coconut and performed a puja after which she unveiled a plaque naming the 112-metre-long submarine. "I name it INS Arihant. All the best to the submarine," she said.
Declaring that India has achieved a "historic milestone in the country's defence preparedness" with the launch of the submarine, the Prime Minister said, "We don't have any aggressive designs nor do we seek to threaten anyone. We seek an external environment in our region and beyond that is conducive to our peaceful development and protection of our value systems," Singh said in his speech congratulating everyone associated with the advanced technology vessel (n-submarine) programme.
The 6000-tonne submarine will first be put on sea trials for two years before being commissioned into full service. In the two years, the submarine will also undergo harbour trials of its nuclear reactor and other systems.
The submarine’s launch coincides with Vijay Diwas marking India's triumph over Pakistani intruders in Kargil. With the launch of the submarine, India will join the exclusive club of US, Russia, China, France and the UK with similar capabilities.
INS Arihant has been built under the Advanced Technology Vessels (ATV) Programme at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
The ATV has been developed jointly by the Indian Navy and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The nuclear reactor of the submarine has reportedly been developed at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, while the vessel is based on the Russian Akula-I class submarine.
With the sea trials, India has announced to the world that it possesses underwater platforms capable of launching nuclear weapons, completing its nuclear triad (land, air and sea) capability and strengthening its strategic deterrence.