The main part of this submarine is its nuclear reactor which has been manufactured by Russians. Its displacement is around 8,140 tonnes. With a maximum speed of 30 knots, the vessel can go up to 600 meters in water and has an endurance of 100 days with a crew of 73. Although this nuclear sub would give teeth to Indian Navy, it would also be vulnerable to nuclear accidents. Any minor technical fault in the nuclear reactor may result in a fatal accident. But these types of threats go along with such systems. Although this submarine will be nuclear propelled, it wouldn't come with a nuclear tipped ballistic missile. India is developing this capability discretely with Russia. The Indian Navy is also planning to induct its indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant by the end of this year.
INS Arihant will be able to carry 12 Sagarika K15 SLBMs which have a range of about 700 km in four silos. K15 is in the advance stages of development with the DRDO which is also developing a SLBM version of Agni-III numbered K-4. Four of these missiles can be carried in place of K15, which will have a much longer range than Sagarika. Apart from this, the Indian Navy also plans to induct more nuclear subs. According to reports, the India navy has started work on the construction of its second nuclear submarine at a classified facility in Visakhapatnam.
It is reported that the manufacture of hull and body has begun and Russia is helping to construct reactor. It is a possibility that in 2015 India would be ready for sea trials of this nuclear sub. The Indian Navy plans to add almost five indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarines in next decade which may cost almost $2.9 billion. At this particular time India may not possess sea-based second strike capability but with these capabilities in place it will achieve its desired goal of achieving a triad at sea with nuclear powered submarine and nuclear tipped ballistic missiles.
It is imperative for Pakistan to monitor the Indian nuclear subs programme and come up with a passable retort keeping in view its economic fragility and lack of financial resources.
The author is Research Fellow at South Asian Strategic Stability Institute Islamabad and can be reached at Masood.firstname.lastname@example.org