Indian nuclear submarine project on track, says Antony

February 11th, 2009 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 11 (IANS) India’s ambitious project to build a nuclear-powered attack submarine is in its final stages, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Wednesday.
“Things (the project) are in the final stage,” Antony said at a press conference here after inaugurating the seventh edition of Aero India international air show here.

“Some years back, there were some bottlenecks in terms of supply of parts. It is over now,” the defence minister asserted.

“We will announce it (the vessel’s launch) whenever it is ready,” Antony added.

The construction of the nuclear submarine, or advanced technology vessel (ATV) as the project is designated, is in line with India’s nuclear doctrine enunciated in 1999, which calls for its nuclear forces to be effective, enduring, diverse, flexible, and responsive to the requirements in accordance with the concept of credible minimum deterrence. The doctrine calls for high survivability against surprise attacks and for rapid punitive response.

A nuclear submarine that can remain submerged almost indefinitely and cannot be detected underwater, therefore, meets all these criteria and offers the most invulnerable launch platforms for nuclear weapons, the doctrine says.

It is the world’s most powerful deterrent force - a stealthy undersea platform with enormous nuclear firepower. For a country like India with a no-first use policy, it is vital because it prevents a potential adversary from launching a crippling first-strike to knock out all nuclear weapons, the doctrine says.

As a precursor to the launch of the indigenous nuclear submarine, India had been hoping to lease an Akula class vessel from Russia that was expected to join the fleet by 2009. However, a devastating accident during sea trials of such a vessel last year has pushed this back and no new date has been set for the submarine to arrive in India.

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