With India's aspiration to operate a nuclear submarine likely to be fulfilled next year with Russian-made Akula set to join the fleet, the Indian Navy is pitching for a submarine-launched nuclear missile to boost the nation's deterrence capabilities.
"With nuclear proliferation posing a greater threat along with Weapons of Mass Destruction, our unilateral policy of no-first-use necessitates that India possesses a credible and survivable nuclear deterrent including submarine-launched," Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said in New Delhi on Saturday while delivering a lecture on Navy's vision for the future.
India had in February this year tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile for the first time that would take another three years to be fully operational.
After a delay, Akula nuclear-powered submarine is likely to join service with Indian Navy next year, Mehta said, pointing out that the Navy would basically use the Russian-made submarine for training in personnel before they get to operate the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine that is under secret construction at the Mazagaon Docks in Mumbai.
"Though it is an operational submarine, Akula will be basically used for training naval operators before they get to operate our indigenous nuclear-powered submarine," the Navy chief said.
A DRDO project, the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine project, codenamed Advanced Technology Vehicle, is said to be well set for sea trials two years from now.