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INS Arihant : Updates & Discussion

Hindustani78

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Prime Minister's Office
05-November, 2018 14:20 IST
Prime Minister felicitates crew of INS Arihant on completion of Nuclear Triad

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi received today the crew of Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine (SSBN) INS Arihant. The submarine recently returned from its first deterrence patrol, completing the establishment of the country's survivable nuclear triad.

Stressing the significance of the successful deployment of INS Arihant for the completion of India's nuclear triad, the Prime Minister congratulated the crew and all involved in the achievement which puts India among a handful of countries having the capability to design, construct and operate SSBNs.

Noting that the indigenous development of the SSBN and its operationalisation attest to the country's technological prowess and the synergy and coordination among all concerned, the Prime Minister thanked them for their dedication and commitment in realising this pioneering accomplishment enhancing immensely the country's security.

The Prime Minister commended the courage and commitment of India's brave soldiers and the talent and perseverance of its scientists, whose untiring efforts transformed the scientific achievement of nuclear tests into establishment of an immensely complex and credible nuclear triad, and dispelled all doubts and questions about India's capability and resolve in this regard.

The Prime Minister stated that the people of India aspire for a 'Shaktimaan Bharat' (Strong India) and building a New India. They have strived tirelessly to overcome all challenges in this path. He stressed that a strong India will fulfill the hopes and aspirations of over a billion Indians and will also be an important pillar for global peace and stability, especially in a world full of uncertainties and concerns.

The Prime Minister extended greetings to the participants and their families on the occasion of Deepawali, the Festival of Light. He expressed the hope that just as light dispels darkness and all fear, INS Arihant will be harbinger of fearlessness for the country.

As a responsible nation, India has put in place a robust nuclear command and control structure, effective safety assurance architecture and strict political control, under its Nuclear Command Authority. It remains committed to the doctrine of Credible Minimum Deterrence and No First Use, as enshrined in the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security in its meeting chaired by the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on January 04, 2003.

*****
 

Hindustani78

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The pursuit of nuclear-armed submarines reflects a security assessment that is becoming increasingly irrelevant

On November 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India’s first indigenous ballistic-missile armed nuclear submarine (SSBN), Arihant, had “successfully completed its first deterrence patrol” and claimed that this “accomplishment” would “always be remembered in our history”. However, he failed to address some fundamental questions: why does India need such a submarine? And, are the enormous resources spent on the nuclear-submarine programme justified?

A nuclear submarine is fuelled by an onboard nuclear reactor, which allows it to operate underwater for long periods of time. In contrast, a conventional diesel submarine uses batteries to operate underwater, but is forced to surface periodically to recharge its batteries using diesel-combustion engines that require oxygen. SSBNs were first deployed during the Cold War and justified as a tool of last resort. If an adversary were to launch a devastating first-strike on a country, destroying its land-based missiles and paralysing its air force, the submarine — undetected at sea — could still deliver a counter-strike, assuring the “mutual destruction” of both countries.

Indian context

However, this strategic function makes little sense in the modern Indian context. There is no realistic threat, which the Arihant could counter, that could wipe out India’s existing nuclear deterrent. The range of the missiles carried by the Arihant is about 750 km, and so it can only target Pakistan and perhaps China.

The Pakistan government has threatened to use “tactical nuclear weapons” to counter India’s cold-start doctrine that envisions a limited invasion of Pakistan. However, these are relatively small nuclear weapons that could devastate a battlefield but would not affect the Indian military’s ability to launch a counter-strike using its existing land or air-based forces.

China has consistently pledged, for more than 50 years, that it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. Even if China were to suddenly change its policy, any attempt to disable India’s nuclear weapons would be fraught with unacceptable risks regardless of whether India possesses SSBNs. Even the United States, which maintains such a large nuclear stockpile, is unwilling to militarily engage a limited nuclear power such as North Korea since it understands that it cannot reliably disable Pyongyang’s land-based deterrent.

Much of the rest of the world has moved to outlaw nuclear weapons. Last year, 122 nations voted in favour of the “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”. The Indian government skipped these negotiations claiming, nevertheless, that it was “committed to universal... nuclear disarmament”. So the government’s active pursuit of nuclear-armed submarines undermines India’s stated international position and reflects a security assessment that is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Some risks
In fact, nuclear-armed submarines increase the risks of an accidental conflict. Traditionally, nuclear weapons in India have been kept under civilian control, and separate from their delivery systems. However, the crew of a nuclear-armed submarine will have both the custody of nuclear weapons and the ability to launch them at short notice. Even though reports suggest that nuclear weapons on Indian SSBNs will be safeguarded by electronic switches, called “permissive action links”, such a setup can dangerously weaken the civilian command-and-control structure, as declassified documents from the Cuban missile crisis show.

During the crisis, U.S. warships recklessly attacked a Soviet submarine with practice depth charges to force it to surface. The captain of the submarine, which had been sailing under difficult conditions and was out of radio contact with the Soviet leadership, thought that war had broken out and decided to respond with nuclear torpedoes. It was only the sober intervention of another senior officer on the submarine, Vasili Arkhipov, that prevented the outbreak of large-scale nuclear hostilities. For his actions, which averted a civilisation-threatening event, Arkhipov was posthumously awarded the “Future of Life” award last year.

Prohibitive costs
Given its uncertain, and even adverse, impact on the country’s security, it is especially important to examine the costs of the SSBN programme. Media reports suggest that the Indian Navy would eventually like about four SSBNs. The government has not released precise figures, but the international experience can be used to estimate the costs of such a fleet.

The British government recently estimated that the cost of four new SSBNs would be £31 billion, or about ₹70,000 crore per submarine. This is similar to the U.S. Navy’s estimate of the cost of a new “Columbia-class” SSBN. The lifetime costs of operating such submarines are even larger than these initial costs; British and American estimates suggest that each SSBN requires between ₹2,000 crore and ₹5,000 crore in annual operational costs.

The Indian submarines will be smaller, and perhaps cheaper. However, even if their costs are only half as large as the lower end of the British and American estimates, the total cost of maintaining a fleet of four SSBNs, over a 40-year life cycle, will be at least ₹3 lakh crore.

It is senseless to spend this money on nuclear submarines when thousands of lives are lost each year because the state pleads that it lacks resources for basic health care and nutrition. It seems appropriate to revisit the words of Sardar Patel, who is held in high esteem by the current dispensation. Patel was hardly a pacifist but he was alive to the issue of wasteful military expenditure. “We must not... be frightened by the bogey of foreign designs upon India,” Patel explained in his presidential address to the 1931 Karachi Congress, or allow it to be used to turn the army into an “octopus we are daily bleeding to support”.
 

gslv mk3

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It is senseless to spend this money on nuclear submarines when thousands of lives are lost each year because the state pleads that it lacks resources for basic health care and nutrition.
What else to expect from a leftist commie newspaper, The Hindu... :rofl:

Should be rather used as a substitute for toilet paper...
 

Hindustani78

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TIRUNELVELI, November 18, 2018 00:19 IST
Updated: November 18, 2018 07:16 IST



It was stopped in August for fuel outage
The first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), which was stopped on August 1 for the mandatory third annual fuel outage, resumed power generation at 12.35 p.m. on Saturday.

The loading of fuel and associated maintenance work were completed in 108 days.

After the reactor ran for about 7,000 hours after the second fuel outage, it was stopped on August 1 for planned third fuel outage. The guidelines state that at the end of a fuel cycle, the used fuel should be replaced with fresh fuel assemblies. In the process, 33% of the spent fuel was removed robotically and fresh enriched uranium fuel bundles were inserted into the reactor.

The unloading of spent fuel from the reactor’s core and the loading of fresh fuel assemblies are normally completed with the help of fully automated refuelling equipment.

During the third fuel outage, of the 163 enriched uranium fuel assemblies in the 1,000-MW VVER (water-cooled water-moderated) reactor, 53 spent fuel assemblies were removed and replaced with fresh bundles, officials said.

The quantum of power being generated by the 1,000-MW reactor would be increased in a phased manner and this process would be dotted with mandatory stops and tests at regular intervals before taking the reactor to its maximum generation capacity.

Meanwhile, a Salem-based firm, identified for pit excavation, consolidation and confirmatory sub-soil investigation for the main plant buildings and structures of KKNPP units 5 and 6, started work on Saturday. The ₹51 crore-worth contract work would be completed in 15 months.

Construction of KKNPP’s 5th and 6th reactors would be carried out at an outlay of ₹50,000 crore, and Russia, the technology supplier, would provide half of the funding as loan. An agreement to this effect was signed in June 2017. Atomstroyexport, a unit of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, would build the reactors.
 

Hindustani78

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INS Arihant’s inaugural sea patrol must spark a debate on the state of India’s nuclear deterrence

November 23, 2018 00:15 IST
Updated: November 23, 2018 00:12 IST


The INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear ballistic missile submarine that completed its sea patrol earlier this month, will contribute significantly to making India’s deterrence capability more robust. Submarine-based nuclear capability is the most survivable leg of a nuclear triad, and its benefit must be seen especially in the light of the growing naval capabilities of India’s potential adversaries. In this light, certain questions need to be addressed on the third leg of India’s nuclear triad, as well as major challenges for strategic stability in the southern Asian region.

Arihant’s missing links
While it is true that India’s deterrence capability is a work in progress, there is nevertheless a need to carry out an objective assessment of what INS Arihant can and cannot do, and the implications thereof. To begin with, there is no clarity on whether the first deterrence patrol of INS Arihant had nuclear-tipped missiles on board. If not, the deterrence patrol would have been intended for political purposes devoid of any real deterrent utility. Without nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles on board an SSBN (ship submersible ballistic nuclear) such as INS Arihant, it might not be any more useful than an ordinary nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN).

Second, even if INS Arihant had nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles on board, it is not clear what ranges they would cover. Reports suggest that it had the 750 km range K-15 missiles on board, which is insufficient to reach key targets in, say, China or Pakistan unless it gets close to their waters, which would then make the Indian SSBN a target. While the K-4 missile (3,500 km range) currently under development would give the country’s sea deterrent the necessary range vis-à-vis its adversaries, INS Arihant would not be able to carry them on board. The Navy would require bigger SSBNs (S-4 and S-5) to carry the K-4 ballistic missiles. In other words, deterring India’s adversaries using the naval leg of its nuclear forces is a work in progress at this point of time.

Third, if indeed the objective of India’s nuclear planners is to achieve seamless and continuous sea deterrence, one SSBN with limited range is far from sufficient. Given the adversaries’ capabilities in tracking, monitoring and surveilling India’s SSBNs, it would need to invest in at least four more. Maintaining a huge nuclear force and its ancillary systems, in particular the naval leg, would eventually prove to be extremely expensive. One way to address the costs would be to reduce the reliance on the air and land legs of the nuclear triad. Given that India does not have ‘first strike’ or ‘launch on warning’ policies, it can adopt a relatively relaxed nuclear readiness posture. New Delhi could, in the long run, invest in a survivable fleet of nuclear submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missies of various ranges, and decide to reduce its investment in the land and air legs of its nuclear deterrent, thereby reducing costs. While this might bring down costs without sacrificing the country’s deterrence requirements, inter-service claims might frustrate such plans.

Finally, the naval leg of the nuclear triad also poses significant command and control challenges. As a matter of fact, communicating with SSBNs without being intercepted by the adversaries’ tracking systems while the submarines navigate deep and far-flung waters is among the most difficult challenges in maintaining an SSBN fleet. Until such sophisticated communication systems are eventually put in place, India will have to do with shallower waters or focus on bastion control, which in some ways reduces the deterrence effect of SSBNs, as bastions would be closer to the ports..

Impact on strategic stability
INS Arihant’s induction will also have implications for regional stability. For one, it is bound to make the maritime competition in the Indian Ocean region sharper, even though the lead in this direction was taken by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) a long time ago. Hence, the dominant driver of India’s SSBN plans appears to be China's expanding inventory of nuclear submarines. The PLAN’s Jin class submarine with the JL-2 missiles with a range of 7,400 km began its deterrent patrol several years ago. Chinese nuclear-powered submarines (reportedly without nuclear weapons on board) have been frequenting the Indian Ocean on anti-piracy missions, creating unease in New Delhi. INS Arihant in that sense is a response to the Chinese naval build-up. Pakistan’s reaction to India’s response to China would be to speed up its submarine-building spree, with assistance from Beijing. Add to this mix China’s mega infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative, with its ambitious maritime objectives; and the revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, with India, U.S., Japan, and Australia.

This sharpening of the maritime competition further engenders several regional ‘security dilemmas’ wherein what a state does to secure itself could end up making it more insecure. The net result of this would be heightened instability for the foreseeable future. However, once the three key players in this trilemma — China, India and Pakistan — manage to put in place the essential conditions for credible minimum deterrence, the effect of the instability could potentially decrease. But it’s a long road to such an outcome.

What would further complicate the relations among the three key players in the region is the absence of nuclear confidence-building measures (CBMs) among them. While India and Pakistan have only rudimentary nuclear CBMs between them, India and China have none at all. In the maritime sphere, neither pairs have any CBMs. Given the feverish maritime developments that are underway, the absence of CBMs could lead to miscalculations and accidents. This becomes even more pertinent in the case of Pakistan, which uses dual-use platforms for maritime nuclear power projection. In case of a bilateral naval standoff, the absence of dedicated conventional or nuclear platforms could potentially lead to misunderstandings and accidents. It is therefore important for India and Pakistan (as also India and China) to have an ‘incidents at sea’ agreement like the one between the U.S. and USSR in 1972, so as to avoid incidents at sea and avoid their escalation if they took place.

Command and control
India’s sea deterrent also throws up several key questions about the country’s nuclear command and control systems. To begin with, unlike in the case of the air or land legs of the triad where civilian organisations have the custody of nuclear warheads, the naval leg will be essentially under military custody and control given that there would be no civilian presence on board an SSBN. Not only would the SSBN have no warhead control by civilians (i.e., BARC scientists), its captain would be under the Strategic Forces Command, an organisation manned by military officers. Also, given that the warhead would be pre-mated with the canisterised missiles in the SSBN, what would be the finer details of the launch authority invested in the SSBN captain? The SSBN captain would have the authority to launch nuclear missiles on orders from the political authority. However, is there a fool-proof Permissive Action Links system in place to ensure that an unauthorised use does not take place? There needs to be more clarity on such issues.

In sum, while INS Arihant makes India’s nuclear deterrence more robust, it also changes deterrence stability in the southern Asian region as we know it. More so, it is important to remember that the country’s sea deterrent is still in its infancy, and its path hereon is riddled with challenges.
 

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