India was always capable with air and ground nuclear weapons, but it missed a nuclear option in the sea. Today, India got its first nuclear submarine, which has the capability to emerge from its underwater location and strike an enemy target at any time. The nuclear submarine is 110 meters long and 11 meters wide, with a surface displacement of 6000 tonnes. Thus, India now finds itself capable of protecting its boundaries with nuclear missiles option from land, sea as well as air.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur launched the nuclear-powered submarine today in a tradition Hindu ceremony by cracking a coconut on the hull of the vessel, INS Arihant. Verses from the Athara Veda were also recited on the occasion.
Now apart from India, there are only five other countries with the capability to build a nuclear submarine, which includes US, Russia, France, China and UK. The option of protecting the country from seas became much more relevant after the Nov 2008 attacks where the Mumbai terrorists came through the sea route in India.
INS Arihant, which will currently carry the warhead, is a ballistic missile submarine armed with twelve K-15 missiles, each capable of carrying a 500-kg nuclear warhead to a target 750-km away. India used a leased Russian submarine from 1981 to 1991 and has been working for its own since then. India also plans to get a couple of nuclear capable Russian Akula class submarines this year. INS Chakra, which is an Akula-2 class nuclear powered submarine, is already undergoing sea trials in the Pacific Ocean and will be inducted soon.