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Indian Navy Activates Nuclear Sub

The Indian navy on Wednesday formally placed into service a Russian-built submarine powered by a nuclear reactor, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Jan 23).

"This will be a big boost for the Indian navy," Defense Minister A.K. Antony said following a commissioning ceremony for the vessel. "The INS Chakra will ensure security and sovereignty of the country."

New Delhi earlier this year took control of the Akula 2-class submarine under a decade-long lease from Russia. The craft is designed to carry torpedoes as well as nuclear-capable cruise missiles, though India has agreed to forgo loading it with any atomic weapons, AFP reported.

India plans to use the Chakra to prepare naval personnel to operate a domestically produced nuclear submarine due to begin operations in 2012. That vessel, the INS Arihant, is expected to carry nuclear-armed missiles (see GSN, Dec. 5, 2011).

"Our crews will get the experience of operating underwater for several months at a go, unlike with the conventional diesel electric submarines, which have to come to surface at regular intervals," the Press Trust of India quoted an anonymous naval source as saying

The Arihant would give the South Asian state the capability to deliver nuclear weapons by sea, air and land. It would join the Chakra in patrolling India's extended coastal zones amid tensions with longtime rival Pakistan and rising power China (Agence France-Presse/Express Tribune, April 4).

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