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India joins elite nuclear sub club

india Updated: Jan 24, 2012 02:13 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times

India on Monday joined an exclusive club of five nations that operate nuclear-powered submarines, with Russia handing over an Akula-II class attack submarine to the Indian Navy at Primorye, a Russian naval port.

The delivery of the submarine, which came after several delays, was part of a secret 2004 deal worth almost $1 billion (Rs 5,040 crore). Apart from India, the US, UK, Russia, France and China have nuclear-enabled submarines.

The Indian Navy has acquired the submarine, now christened INS Chakra, on a 10-year lease.

India, however, will complete its nuclear triad (ability to launch strategic weapons from land, air and sea) only when it inducts the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant towards the end of this year.

Arihant will be equipped with K-15 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (a closely guarded DRDO secret), capable of delivering a nuclear warhead up to 700 km.

The Russian-built INS Chakra cannot deliver nuclear warheads in its current configuration. It will carry torpedoes, land-attack cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles.