The capability of the Indian Navy just went up significantly. A few days back, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the launch of INS Arighat. The ceremony where this announcement was kept very low-key and hardly made any headlines.
The ceremony was held at the Ship Building Centre (SBC) at Visakhapatnam entailing flooding the dry dock housing the SSBN to enable it to float into the surrounding waters for additional fitment ahead of its commissioning in 2020-21.
The INS Arighat gives a massive boost to the Indian Navy. It is an Arihant-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. The submarine has been built indigenously which shows that the ‘Make in India’ campaign is headed in the right direction. This is India’s second ‘Make in India’ nuclear submarine.
Work on developing the successor of the INS Arighat has already begun. It will be a next-generation Ballistic Missile Submarine. INS Arighat will be succeeded in the dry dock by two similar SSBNs that have been temporarily designated S4 and S4*.
These two submarines will be armed with K-4 and K-5 SLBMs. They will be India’s Second line of SSBN by the time all 6 nuclear submarines are operational.
The K-4 is a nuclear capable intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile developed by the DRDO. The missile is said to have a maximum range of about 3,500 km. The K-5 missile which is a variant that will have a range of 5,000 km.
The primary threat to India now is from China’s navy. China is making inroads into the Indian Ocean to diminish India’s geographical advantage. In such a scenario, India needs a robust submarine fleet to counter China’s aggression that would only rise with time.
Arming Indian Navy with nuclear-capable submarines will provide a very credible deterrence factor to India with respect to China. Such beasts of the Indian Navy will create ripples in Islamabad. Pakistan is fearing India’s rapidly expanding military capabilities. India’s capability to fire nuclear missiles from sea is a huge booster to our nuclear capabilities.