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February 28, 2012

Govt nod for two more Arihants

The Government has given a go-ahead for construction of two more nuclear-powered Arihant-class submarines in India.
The move will not only enhance the strategic reach of the Navy, but also propel India into the top league of five nations including US, Russia, France, Germany and UK which have such sophisticated platforms.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already indigenously designed and developed the first nuclear-powered submarine Arihant, which is scheduled to go for sea trials next year.
As things stand, it was just last month that India inducted the Russian-made nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa - rechristened now as INS Chakra - into the Indian Navy. It will go a long way in helping India to build, operate and maintain the two new submarines without delays and cost overruns normally associated with such projects, sources said.
A nuclear-powered submarine can remain submerged under water for more than three months without surfacing and is very difficult to detect as its engines emit minimal signature sound and enemy aircraft and anti-submarines detection ships cannot pick up signals.
Explaining the significance of building two more submarines in the context of global security architecture, sources said here on Monday reports indicated that China is also developing its first nuclear-powered submarine.
Given the growing maritime prowess of China with its plans to build two aircraft carriers besides submarines, Indian defence establishment wants to deny Beijing an edge and allow it to pose challenge to our strategic interests in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, sources said.
As regards the new project, they said India has already acquired the expertise in developing such complex machines while designing Arihant. In fact, Arihant, which was unveiled three years back by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, took more than 15 years of planning, design and construction thereby highlighting the complexities involved in such a project.
INS Chakra is expected to arrive in India by the end of next month. India has taken this platform on a 10-year lease for two billion dollars. This is the second time India has gone in for such an arrangement with Russia as the first submarine was acquired in 1980 for a 10-year period.

-The Pioneer

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