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Can India Accommodate the INS Arihant?

Levina

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Can India Accommodate the INS Arihant?








The latest reports on India’s first indigenously built nuclear submarine INS Arihant suggest that the project only began sea trials last month. Successive trials over a nine-month period will give way to weapons testing on board the vessel, and the submarine will only be deployed for active patrol duty in 2016. The high-tech vesselproject has already been in R&D for well over two decades, having incurred exponential overrun costs and delayed delivery schedules.

This delay, however, could work in the favor of the government of Narendra Modi. Specifically, it could enable it to make much-needed reforms to India’s nuclear doctrine, to effectively accommodate the Arihant.

Given New Delhi’s uncertain mindset on nuclear deterrence, the Indian nuclear doctrine has not been touched since its hurried inception in 1998. Contextualizing the geo-political changes that have occurred in South Asia, and globally, this underscores the reluctance of Indian politicians – leery of being lumped together with Pakistan and North Korea – to come anywhere near the controversial issue. This is in contrast to the permanent members of the UN Security Council, for instance, all which have evolved their doctrines over an extended time period. In fact, for a nuclear power that is only 14 years old, New Delhi has certainly set a benchmark for political resistance on nuclear weapons. Modi will have to come to terms with this, and push for reform to the nuclear doctrine before India finally projects its nuclear prowess in the Indian Ocean region.

The main elements of India’s nuclear policy revolve around No First-Use (NFU), massive second strike capability, and credible minimum deterrence. I have previously considered the implications of India’s credible minimum deterrence.

A massive second strike capability policy, coupled with NFU, gives India a politically neutral, operationally ready stance to project its nuclear power. The second-strike capability clause, however contains a sub clause that deals with command and control delegation. Herein lies the problem. For land based silos, or gravity bombs loaded on aircraft, the command and control hierarchy can be maintained in all but the most dire circumstances. For a sea-based asset, where deterrence is primarily achieved by long-term radio silence, and launching control is delegated to seniority on board the vessel, the existing command and control model is not applicable. Just like Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons (TnWs), New Delhi will essentially be delegating launch control to field officers on board the submarine, massively increasing the probability of incidental firing. Also, as a designated “second-strike” capacity asset, the Nuclear Command Authority cannot effectively and credibly implement fail-safe measures such as a Permissive Action Link (PAL), two-man rule, or a no-lone zone on board the vessel.

India, like Pakistan, is known to keep its nuclear warheads de-mated from the delivery mechanisms. For the INS Arihant to fulfill its operational responsibility, SLBMs mounted with nuclear warheads will have to be deployed on the vessel. But for a country that allows minimal to almost zero participation of the military echelon in political and strategic matters, beyond the doctrinal headache the question is how exactly does the Modi government plan to deploy INSArihant as a credible second-strike asset. Having never allowed an experienced serving defense personnel to sit in on a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, is the government ready to bestow the responsibility of managing nuclear weapons onto senior naval officers? Or will a politician be perpetually stationed on board the INS Arihant?

In this political setup, New Delhi is well placed to finally reform its nuclear doctrine, in a way that reflects its geopolitical ambitions. Given its investment in long-range ICBM development, and its ambitious decision to establish a ballistic missile defense shield, shifting from a second-strike capacity to a pre-emptive nuclear posture seems possible for India. In a defensive realist paradigm, states need only exercise a containment-centric doctrine until they elevate above the anarchic system. For all practical purposes, India would have reached that milestone in the military arena, when the INS Arihant finally goes underwater.

Also, for its 7,515 km long coastline, a single nuclear submarine is not enough. India has already started construction of INS Aridhaman, the second vessel in the Arihant class, and plans to have a total of four boats by 2020. Thus, “credible minimum deterrence” would have already started another arms race in the region, before India can actually attain a credible second strike capability. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi unveiled an alternative blueprint for India’s nuclear doctrine in 2012, and one of its salient points was substituting “credible minimumdeterrence” with “credible minimal deterrence,” allowing the country to avoid getting fixated on a numerical value, and simply continue arming per geo-political requirements.

While they’re at it, why not ditch NFU as well? It is quite debatable as to when global zero will finally be achieved. Until then, the only point of differentiation among the major powers is their policies on first use. New Delhi will never be able to escape its current geopolitical squeeze, unless it changes the geo-strategic dynamics on its terms.

Wishful thinking apart, the new government has closed the door on that possibility, deeming NFU a “party legacy” (the Bhartiya Janta Party was in power when India went nuclear in 1998). Should all four Arihant class vessels be operational by the time India’s next general elections are held, this will be a major point of discussion.

The INS Arihant is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, reported to be modeled on the RussianAkula-class vessels. The theoretical potency of the vessel can be gauged by the assistance Russia gave India in this project, which extended to leasing a nuclear attack submarine – the INS Chakra II – to India and training the initial submarine crew. Unfortunately, because Russia is a party to the Missile Control Treaty Regime (MCTR), New Delhi could not arm the INS Chakra II with developmental SLBMs for R&D purposes. Consequently, India still does not have a capable ballistic missile with which to arm the INS Arihant, vastly undermining the submarine’s utility as a sea-based deterrent. Thus, the Defence Research and Development Organisation will need yet more time before it can produce a quality SLMB to put on the vessel.

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Project-75-India is just the begining, updating nuclear policies and acquring more nuke subs 're just a few things in govt's to do list. Japan was sent feelers to participate in this project, unfortunately their subs dont meet Indian requirements.
 
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kaku1

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Also, for its 7,515 km long coastline, a single nuclear submarine is not enough. India has already started construction of INS Aridhaman, the second vessel in the Arihant class, and plans to have a total of four boats by 2020. Thus, “credible minimum deterrence” would have already started another arms race in the region, before India can actually attain a credible second strike capability. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi unveiled an alternative blueprint for India’s nuclear doctrine in 2012, and one of its salient points was substituting “credible minimumdeterrence” with “credible minimal deterrence,” allowing the country to avoid getting fixated on a numerical value, and simply continue arming per geo-political requirements.
Even the 10 SSBN with K-15 is not enough. The only operational viability of INS Arihant become possible after K-4.
 

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Good Article though there is some confusion in this like that was explained in last para.
Yes it would be a challenge.When we deployed the INS Arihant we cant follow the usual SOP like that of land based or Air delivered system .
Once it began its journey ,all 12 K15 would be under the control of the Commander of INS Arihant.And I think when it operationalize NDA will announce major changes in nuke doctrine like they said during election.


K 15 is a potent weapin and enough for the irritant in SA.But I think K 4 would be ready before 2020 .Since we are developing 4 Arihant class at least 2 of them would be for K 4 deployment .

@sancho @nair @sandy_3126 @SpArK
 

Abingdonboy

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Can India Accommodate the INS Arihant?








The latest reports on India’s first indigenously built nuclear submarine INS Arihant suggest that the project only began sea trials last month. Successive trials over a nine-month period will give way to weapons testing on board the vessel, and the submarine will only be deployed for active patrol duty in 2016. The high-tech vesselproject has already been in R&D for well over two decades, having incurred exponential overrun costs and delayed delivery schedules.

This delay, however, could work in the favor of the government of Narendra Modi. Specifically, it could enable it to make much-needed reforms to India’s nuclear doctrine, to effectively accommodate the Arihant.

Given New Delhi’s uncertain mindset on nuclear deterrence, the Indian nuclear doctrine has not been touched since its hurried inception in 1998. Contextualizing the geo-political changes that have occurred in South Asia, and globally, this underscores the reluctance of Indian politicians – leery of being lumped together with Pakistan and North Korea – to come anywhere near the controversial issue. This is in contrast to the permanent members of the UN Security Council, for instance, all which have evolved their doctrines over an extended time period. In fact, for a nuclear power that is only 14 years old, New Delhi has certainly set a benchmark for political resistance on nuclear weapons. Modi will have to come to terms with this, and push for reform to the nuclear doctrine before India finally projects its nuclear prowess in the Indian Ocean region.

The main elements of India’s nuclear policy revolve around No First-Use (NFU), massive second strike capability, and credible minimum deterrence. I have previously considered the implications of India’s credible minimum deterrence.

A massive second strike capability policy, coupled with NFU, gives India a politically neutral, operationally ready stance to project its nuclear power. The second-strike capability clause, however contains a sub clause that deals with command and control delegation. Herein lies the problem. For land based silos, or gravity bombs loaded on aircraft, the command and control hierarchy can be maintained in all but the most dire circumstances. For a sea-based asset, where deterrence is primarily achieved by long-term radio silence, and launching control is delegated to seniority on board the vessel, the existing command and control model is not applicable. Just like Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons (TnWs), New Delhi will essentially be delegating launch control to field officers on board the submarine, massively increasing the probability of incidental firing. Also, as a designated “second-strike” capacity asset, the Nuclear Command Authority cannot effectively and credibly implement fail-safe measures such as a Permissive Action Link (PAL), two-man rule, or a no-lone zone on board the vessel.

India, like Pakistan, is known to keep its nuclear warheads de-mated from the delivery mechanisms. For the INS Arihant to fulfill its operational responsibility, SLBMs mounted with nuclear warheads will have to be deployed on the vessel. But for a country that allows minimal to almost zero participation of the military echelon in political and strategic matters, beyond the doctrinal headache the question is how exactly does the Modi government plan to deploy INSArihant as a credible second-strike asset. Having never allowed an experienced serving defense personnel to sit in on a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, is the government ready to bestow the responsibility of managing nuclear weapons onto senior naval officers? Or will a politician be perpetually stationed on board the INS Arihant?

In this political setup, New Delhi is well placed to finally reform its nuclear doctrine, in a way that reflects its geopolitical ambitions. Given its investment in long-range ICBM development, and its ambitious decision to establish a ballistic missile defense shield, shifting from a second-strike capacity to a pre-emptive nuclear posture seems possible for India. In a defensive realist paradigm, states need only exercise a containment-centric doctrine until they elevate above the anarchic system. For all practical purposes, India would have reached that milestone in the military arena, when the INS Arihant finally goes underwater.

Also, for its 7,515 km long coastline, a single nuclear submarine is not enough. India has already started construction of INS Aridhaman, the second vessel in the Arihant class, and plans to have a total of four boats by 2020. Thus, “credible minimum deterrence” would have already started another arms race in the region, before India can actually attain a credible second strike capability. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi unveiled an alternative blueprint for India’s nuclear doctrine in 2012, and one of its salient points was substituting “credible minimumdeterrence” with “credible minimal deterrence,” allowing the country to avoid getting fixated on a numerical value, and simply continue arming per geo-political requirements.

While they’re at it, why not ditch NFU as well? It is quite debatable as to when global zero will finally be achieved. Until then, the only point of differentiation among the major powers is their policies on first use. New Delhi will never be able to escape its current geopolitical squeeze, unless it changes the geo-strategic dynamics on its terms.

Wishful thinking apart, the new government has closed the door on that possibility, deeming NFU a “party legacy” (the Bhartiya Janta Party was in power when India went nuclear in 1998). Should all four Arihant class vessels be operational by the time India’s next general elections are held, this will be a major point of discussion.

The INS Arihant is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, reported to be modeled on the RussianAkula-class vessels. The theoretical potency of the vessel can be gauged by the assistance Russia gave India in this project, which extended to leasing a nuclear attack submarine – the INS Chakra II – to India and training the initial submarine crew. Unfortunately, because Russia is a party to the Missile Control Treaty Regime (MCTR), New Delhi could not arm the INS Chakra II with developmental SLBMs for R&D purposes. Consequently, India still does not have a capable ballistic missile with which to arm the INS Arihant, vastly undermining the submarine’s utility as a sea-based deterrent. Thus, the Defence Research and Development Organisation will need yet more time before it can produce a quality SLMB to put on the vessel.

*************************************
Project-75-India is just the begining, updating nuclear policies and acquring more nuke subs 're just a few things in govt's to do list. Japan was sent feelers to participate in this project, unfortunately their subs dont meet Indian requirements.
Some fair points raised by the article. Yes, India does need to develop a credible and sensible doctrine around its SSBN fleet's deployments and second-strike capabilities.

However that the article has failed to take into account (or even mention) the Very low Frequency (VLF) antenna the IN is setting up so as to pass on EAMs to their submerged SSBNs worldwide is most strange. With this facility the political leadership (Nuclear Command Authority) will be able to control India's SLBMs and cut out the need for the commander of the Sub to use their judgment all together.
 

sancho

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Even the 10 SSBN with K-15 is not enough.
For what? Nuclear subs, especially SSBNs have nothing to do with coastal defence, all we need is a credible number of subs to remain with a 2nd strike capability against possible enemies, so to take the threat to them away from India. The 10 SSBNs then are more than enough for our needs, but should have more capable missiles to increase their operational capabilities.
 

kaku1

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For what? Nuclear subs, especially SSBNs have nothing to do with coastal defence, all we need is a credible number of subs to remain with a 2nd strike capability against possible enemies, so to take the threat to them away from India. The 10 SSBNs then are more than enough for our needs, but should have more capable missiles to increase their operational capabilities.
That was point, not a statement.
 

MilSpec

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K 15 is a potent weapin and enough for the irritant in SA.But I think K 4 would be ready before 2020 .Since we are developing 4 Arihant class at least 2 of them would be for K 4 deployment .

@sancho @nair @sandy_3126 @SpArK
De-mated warhead from delivery system is good PR stunt. I won't comment anything further than that.

as far as K4 is concerned, it is said to be A3 derivative which i think is speculative, K4mkII might be closer to A5 than the A3 system. Also i dont think 2020 is the timeframe, it would be ready much earlier but even if deployed, it think it will remain a black project. Also keep an eye out for the new solid fuel TEC thrust cartridges on the Mk5 and Mk6 RV. That imo will be big development for A3,A2P, A5, K15, Shaurya,K4, K4II systems.

Next the K15 range shortcoming as mentioned. K15 with a 1 ton payload has 750 Km range. But the we should also remember that a 80 rv's using a 200 kt fission device has been long replaced by 200 and 300kt thermo nuclear devices, where the RV for Agni III and Agni II prime (IV) weighs less than half of what it used to be. Same principle applies to K15 where the RV doesn't need to be anywhere close to 1000 Kg's. With a Mk4 RV, we know that Shaurya can hit upto 1650Km calibrated range, same applies to K15 as well as they are sibling systems.
 

Levina

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Even the 10 SSBN with K-15 is not enough. The only operational viability of INS Arihant become possible after K-4.
Well if we take a look at Chinese Jin-class SSBN armed with JL-2 SLBM, has a range of 8,000km and can target both San Francisco and Kolkata from the South China Sea.
So at 750km range of the K-15 is to target in mainland China from home waters but its sufficient for Pak..
K-4 would have a range of 3500 - 5000 km and K-5 would have a range of just 6000km. China has a NFU policy so we need strive for that kinda range. And INS arihant is merely a second strike asset.
But the point to be noted here is the mention of single-digit accuracy by the DRDO chief in the K-15 context which raises the spectre of ‘counter-force’ targeting. That should suffice. :)
However that the article has failed to take into account (or even mention) the Very low Frequency (VLF) antenna the IN is setting up so as to pass on EAMs to their submerged SSBNs worldwide is most strange. With this facility the political leadership (Nuclear Command Authority) will be able to control India's SLBMs and cut out the need for the commander of the Sub to use their judgment all together.
This confuses me actually.
True that these submarines 've trailing antennas located at secret locations but since SLBMs and the warheads 're not de-mated on INS arihant any accidental launch is still an issue.
I guess in US, President's code box is always in his easy reach.
 
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NKVD

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De-mated warhead from delivery system is good PR stunt. I won't comment anything further than that.

as far as K4 is concerned, it is said to be A3 derivative which i think is speculative, K4mkII might be closer to A5 than the A3 system. Also i dont think 2020 is the timeframe, it would be ready much earlier but even if deployed, it think it will remain a black project. Also keep an eye out for the new solid fuel TEC thrust cartridges on the Mk5 and Mk6 RV. That imo will be big development for A3,A2P, A5, K15, Shaurya,K4, K4II systems.

Next the K15 range shortcoming as mentioned. K15 with a 1 ton payload has 750 Km range. But the we should also remember that a 80 rv's using a 200 kt fission device has been long replaced by 200 and 300kt thermo nuclear devices, where the RV for Agni III and Agni II prime (IV) weighs less than half of what it used to be. Same principle applies to K15 where the RV doesn't need to be anywhere close to 1000 Kg's. With a Mk4 RV, we know that Shaurya can hit upto 1650Km calibrated range, same applies to K15 as well as they are sibling systems.
Was K-4 Mk1 is Operationally ready by 2017 It will be ready for Next submarines of Arihant Class
 

Levina

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Next the K15 range shortcoming as mentioned. K15 with a 1 ton payload has 750 Km range. .
why do we need long range K missiles??
China has a no first use policy and INS Arihant as mentioned is our Second strike asset. As far as I understand the main purpose of INS arihant is to deter Pak from making any nuke attack on India. Or have i got it all wrong?
Long K missiles would be needed to attack China from home waters but then what's the need?
 

NKVD

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So at 750km range of the K-15 is to target in mainland China from home waters but its sufficient for Pak..
K-4 would have a range of 3500 - 500 km
K-4 is tested twice the missile was first test fired from a depth of 30 metres on 24 March 2014. The test was successful and the missiles reached its range of 3,000 km. Another testing of K4 was done in May 2014. It is expected to undergo several more tests from submerged pontoons and finally from submarines before being getting operational by 2017.
K-4 is satisfactory range to deter Chinese threat Which is Enough for the Present Strategic Scenarios.
 

MilSpec

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why do we need long range K missiles??
China has a no first use policy and INS Arihant as mentioned is our Second strike asset. As far as I understand the main purpose of INS arihant is to deter Pak from making any nuke attack on India. Or have i got it all wrong?
Long K missiles would be needed to attack China from home waters but then what's the need?
If there is a war, stated policies dont matter.

SLBM strike is intended to strike from safe standoff distance, lower the range of your SLBM, more is the risk to go closer to coastal defense systems.
 

Levina

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K-4 is tested twice the missile was first test fired from a depth of 30 metres on 24 March 2014. The test was successful and the missiles reached its range of 3,000 km. Another testing of K4 was done in May 2014. It is expected to undergo several more tests from submerged pontoons and finally from submarines before being getting operational by 2017.
K-4 is satisfactory range to deter Chinese threat Which is Enough for the Present Strategic Scenarios.
As far I know K-4 has 3 variants one with range of 3000km has been tested but the future
variants would be 2 m taller and have 5,000-km range.
The secret 'K' missile family : The Big Story - India Today

If there is a war, stated policies dont matter.
Then why have a NFU at all if it is to be reneged during a war???
 

MilSpec

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Then why have a NFU at all if it is to be reneged during a war???
because words play a big role in international diplomacy. Words at times have better credibility that actions.

As far I know K-4 has 3 variants one with range of 3000km has been tested but the future
variants would be 2 m taller and have 5,000-km range.
The secret 'K' missile family : The Big Story - India Today
?
Airframe and motor system remains the same, the RV and warhead configurations change along with motor settings for different range configurations.
Although I suspect the K4 II has a different motor system closer to A5 system than the A3 , both have the same 1st phase solid motor.
 

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