The unveiling of India’s top secret nuclear-powered submarine, three decades after it was conceived, has been greeted with much tub-thumping.
Even for a nation hungry for success and even more than that, global recognition, some of the adulation seems excessive and perhaps premature as many are starting to point out.
INS Arihant, or destroyer of enemies, has just made contact with water, as it were, with the navy flooding the dry dock at last weekend’s launch in the southern port city of Visakhapatnam. It has to be tested in the harbour, then out at sea. The nuclear reactor, the heart of the new technology, has yet to be fitted. Perhaps a bigger moment will be when that reactor goes critical.
“The Arihant is far from reaching operational status, as it currently is little more than floating hull,” as this piece in defence professionals says.
To say that the launch by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh completes the third element in India’s nuclear triad based on missiles, aircraft and underwater strike capability is jumping several years ahead.