ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Destroyer of Peace

With the launch of its homegrown nuclear submarine India continues a race to the edge of an abyss

Pumped up by an ecstatic media, national pride swelled last month when, on 26 July, India launched for harbour trials its first domestically-designed and manufactured nuclearpowered submarine, the somewhat ominously named INS Arihant or “Destroyer of Enemies”, which is to be equipped with nucleartipped ballistic missiles. India is now only the sixth country in the world to design, produce and own the ultimate in delivery of an atomic bomb, crowed a media ever anxious for India to join an exclusive club of nations. (The media never bothers to remember that for decades India has occupied one exclusive position – the country that is home to the largest number of malnourished.)

What the launch of the INS Arihant does is take India closer towards the Armageddon in the race that the country and Pakistan have been engaged in, openly since 1998 and surreptitiously for at least a quarter of a century. When the INS Arihant has been fully tested and equipped with the 750-km range and nuclear-tipped, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) the Sagarika/K-7, when the planned complement of three such nuclear-powered vessels is ready and when an even longer range of SLBMs has been developed, India would have completed assembling its “triad” of land, air and sea-based weapon delivery systems. This has been the long-cherished dream of the Dr Strangeloves in our strategic affairs community and was formally laid out in the 1999 Draft Indian Nuclear Doctrine (DIND).

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