India readies nuclear sub for sea trials

India took another step Wednesday toward elevating its navy toward joining the other elite global maritime powers when it announced its first home-built nuclear submarine was set for sea trials.

In April, the Indian navy introduced a Russian-leased nuclear submarine into its fleet joining the United States, France,China, Britain and Russia as the only navies with nuclear-powered vessels.

The INS Arihant will mark the India navies and its defense industries next step proving it can build their own fleet. The Arihant (Destroyer of Enemies) was introduced three years ago as part of a larger Indian naval strategy to build five submarines loaded with nuclear tipped missiles.

“Our maritime and nuclear doctrine will then be aligned to ensure that our nuclear insurance comes from the sea,” Indian navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma┬ásaid.

The 6,000 ton Arihant will carry a 95-member crew with the potential to run 24 knots powered by an 85-megawatt nuclear reactor.

It will be telling to see if India’s coming submarine fleet launches a new arms race in the region.

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Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • CaptD

    RE: It will be telling to see if India’s coming submarine fleet launches a new arms race in the region.

    How can it not?

    What is next, War Games with people that believe in re-incarnation?
    …. p.s. I’m not against any religions, just Nuclear Wars…

    • blight_

      Like us and the Soviets, there is a large contingent of people who just don’t want to die, whether or not they believe in some sort of resurrection. As for the nominally godless Soviets, dying for freedom is acceptable, but when un-necessary it’s just a waste.

      They need a nuclear sub if they intend to go for sea lane control…but who with? Pakistan is next door and can be shut down with some diesels.


      • tmb2

        Yep. We were discussing this a couple weeks ago on here about the bases in the Philipinnes and other South Pacific sea lanes where China is pushing its influence.

  • David

    So what is the over under for how long till this sub sinks? I’m assuming they received a lot of technical assistance from Russia which does not bode well for the Indian sailors.

    As for an arms race… With whom? Pakistan? You need capable adversaries for an arms race. I do not see Pakistan building a nuclear sub.

  • No War Now

    Investing in war, nuclear, and ego are humanity’s primary downfalls. There is no good reason to add more nuclear military to the ocean and world stock when what people really need are: health care, safe food/agriculture, and access to education and training in employment fields that support sustainable activities. India’s decision to throw another nuc sub in the oceans is far too expensive and does nothing for its people but put them and the world at greater risk. No Nukes, No War.

    • coolhand77

      you have to have something to defend all that health care, food, agriculture, education, and employment with. You don’t defend yourself with a sword when the local warlords have rifles. You don’t defend yourself with primarily conventional forces when the potential conquering neighbors have more man power, air power, and nukes at their disposal.
      An armed neighborhood is a polite neighborhood, religeous extremests not withstanding. In addition, put your nukes on a sub and its MUCH harder for someone to blow them up and take away your nuclear deterrant. First they have to FIND them to blow them up.

    • blight_

      I guess diesel subs are okay because nuclear is Satan.

    • Pappa51

      Reply to No War Now. . . I knew it wouldn’t take long to have some lib come along and start with the Health Care, starving billions and education. . .If people were really educated they could see that Liberal policies have done more to starve the poor, and deny them a real education than all the nuclear weapons and militaries ever have. I see this as India being more capable of defending itself. Liberals talk alot and always mess things up.

      • Meatpopsicle

        You look at his response from an American perspective.

        The guy is probably right, have you seen how shitty India is?
        I think blowing shit up is awesome, but you need a meal in your belly before you march off to war.

    • brian

      freedom cost blood and money your living in a pipe dream

    • Pettifogger

      “No nukes, no war.”

      Which is why sub-Saharan Africa, Syria, and many other places are such garden spots. Almost all wars have been fought without nukes. India has real enemies that would do them harm, given the opportunity. The Indian government owes the Indian people deterrence from attacks.

    • Robert Fritts

      Because Mitt Romney secretly runs India, the plan is for a very big war, with dogs strapped to the top of every Plane, Tank and Sub. Hopefully a large Nuke exchange will drop India’s population down to a managable 250 million. With all the availible land Bain capital can invest in sustainable farms without healthcare so that excess unproductive people can all die when Mitt gives them cancer.

  • Lone_Skate

    In the long term, China is potentially a greater threat to India than Pakistan. Especially at sea. To achieve parity at some future date, India has to start now.

  • Joe

    Maybe india seeks t oinsure its OWN security and sea lanes as opposed to expecting someone else to do it for them. Nothing irrational about that.

  • Matt Holzmann

    “is your submarine turned on?”

  • Cato

    If Green Bay can host an NFL team, India can have a nuclear submarine.

    It’s a club, mom, and all the other guys are in it.

  • Given that 600,000,000 Indians suffered a power cut last week, perhaps they should plug that sub’s reactor into the national grid (they’d then only need another 240 submarines to make up the country’s megawatt shortfall, so perhaps not a practical suggestion), or at least invest in some infrastructure projects.

    Hundreds of millions of people in India live in poverty – over half the population by some measures. These are people who live without clean water, sanitation or sufficient food – still got money for nuclear missile armed submarines though. You have to question these folks’ priorities. Do India’s poor appreciate that their dirty, overcrowded, diseased and rodent infested slums are protected by the best nuclear umbrella that money can buy?

    • blight_

      Perhaps they should put more money into leveraging their thorium for non-proliferative nuclear power. If they find a good way to get rid of the waste, give us a page and we’ll outsource it to you!

    • justsaying

      The poor also bear responsibility though, for continuing to bear children in the midst of poverty.

      • Brian Black

        But they need to send the kids out to work.

        I don’t suppose there are many other leisure oportunities in a calcutta slum either.

  • Lance

    You can tell the Indians have had alot of Russian influence on there sub design. There new sub looks like a older Soviet sub.

    • ghostwhowalks

      It is a Russian sub. The Akula class. I dont know why the story says its ‘home built’?

      Apparently its had a major accident just before handing over to India . Halon release asphyxiated 20 people

      • globalstrat

        Yes, it’s fire suppression unit malfunctioned apparently whilst the sub was in it’s Russian guise as RFS Nerpa

    • blight_

      This news article is a double feature. Paragraph one announces the Arihant is on sea trials for the Indian Navy. Para two relates to the introduction of the Russian sub.

  • The Indian

    India is surrounded by terrorist countries. China on the north/NE, illegally occupying Tibet and Pakistan (Islam) on the North/NW. Both have bad blood with India.
    So India will have to fight two enemies at the same time as China has been propping Pakistan for decades basically with every weapon including nukes. Also, thanx to US for equipping it’s non-NATO ally with some of the lethal weapons which will be and have been used against India.
    For India’s survival, whatever India has is not enough and need ‘a lot more’ to match China.

    • Will

      Come on, a nation with a population of a billion has the resources to be original. Find another name to call people you don’t like. “Terrorist” is taken.

  • Zip

    They’d better hook up the nuclear reactor in that sub to their power grid. Good god, with a blackout for 700 million people last week puts India’s potential to balance China in perspective!

    • The Indian

      some 11 years ago in hot summer time, there was a grid failure in north america,which took onario, michigan, w newyork and parts of eastern ohio without power for three straight days vs the indian grid failure for just about 10 hrs.

      • blight_

        Thank the recession for ensuring this year has not been so bad in regards to power outages.

      • Zip

        Yes, but only 11% of the country lost power, not HALF, as happened in India. Then again, there are 400 million Indians who had no access to electricity to begin with, so there you go; positive spin of the day goes something like this: India fully restores power, 400 million still without electricity.

    • Papi1960R

      They overloaded the power grid because the followed the Kyoto accord and closed 75% of their coal mines and 80% of their coal fired power plants. Hey thats exactly what we are doing.

      • ghostwhowalks

        Kyoto doesnt really apply to India ( or China)

    • Mr. AAA

      I agree that India do need Civilian Nuke Power Plants, but considering the fact that the grid failure was restored within 10hrs for major cities and emergency services including transport plus another 12 hrs for full restore I don’t think it to be much fuss.
      And about China, the fact is that there is no thing such as free media or even medium for unbiased news from China, even Facebook is banned in China. I just wan’t to say China is maybe a big hoax, no country can have so much growth with so much expenditure in terms of Olympics, military and etc. Indians have learned not to trust them after the skirmish of 1962.

  • Howard

    “You didn’t build that!”

    • Prodozul

      Leave politics out of this.

  • Venividivici

    Talk about hypocrisy. The Indian kiss-up disgusts me. So when China decides to build it’s own power considering it is beating us in the long run, we need to shun it and put it down. I’m rather surprised since I haven’t seen a “well one of our coast guard ships can blow it out of the water her der”. That’s right, you people are dumb and this is why Americans are considered idiots. Giving India leniency when it’s one of the most corrupt countries in the world and is only an opportunist. Guess we Americans love socialists. Done with Defense Tech/Militaryphotoscrap and all this chicom rant. You know, I don’t see any complaints of Russia building a STRING of military bases along the arctic.

    • Prodozul

      Wasn’t aware India is socialist country…

      • vikka

        When We become Socialist?

    • Schlappy

      Venividivici = dooshnozzle

    • Mr. AAA

      India became socialist after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, i think, amended the preamble to the constitution of India declaring it to be a socialist state.

  • The Indian

    What does India & USA have in common?
    apart from democracy, they also share enemies. check this out

    Jehadi takeover can prompt Indo-US attack on Pakistan: book

  • stephen russell

    I can see a sub arms race with China & India big time, better bunker down in Australia for sure.
    Or use subs to harrass Pakistani ships?? scary.

  • jsallison

    Just so long as they don’t name one Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds.

  • Tiger

    My $.2???? At least they can name a sub decently. The Arihant (Destroyer of Enemies). Better than the USS Gabby Giffords.

    • Johnny Ranger

      No way. Tell me we are not naming a US warship “USS Gabby Giffords”. That’s a joke, right?

    • Cato

      Commemorating Mrs. Giffords’ long and illustrious career in the Navy, no wait, commemorating Mrs. Giffords’ long support for our Naval forces, no wait, commemorating politicians who get shot in the head but don’t die.

      Just name it the USS PeeWee Herman, it makes as much sense and maybe the enemy will be laughing so hard we can sneak up on them.

    • blight_

      Beats wasting a good name on a horrible ship.

      Too bad we called the tiny boats Freedom and Independence. An LCS won’t keep us free, and LCS aren’t exactly independent.

      • Praetorian

        Lol, good one blight.

  • Aegisblue

    Nuclear sub puts to see with nuclear tipped missiles but india cant keep the power on to a large part of the population.

  • DaveC


  • Dee

    We see a mix of what I assume are Indian Navy stances being adopted by the crew some are at the US equivalent of attention, some at the equivalent to parade rest, and others in between (feet spread and arms at the side).

    Assuming the guy waving is a civilian, thus we can exclude him from consideration, we have to ask ourselves if this navy lacks the discipline to stand in formation in a consistent fashion what other incompetent activities in their reactor and command center that may lead to this sub ending up on the ocean floor? This is a Russian sub and these aren’t noted for their safety records.

    • blight_

      I wonder if civilian nuclear power workers performance also correlates to their ability to stand at attention.

      Maybe they are actors or civilian dockworkers shanghaiied into posing for Ministry of Defense photos?

      • Submariner

        Civilian and military requirements are different. A disciplined force is a proficient force these guys aren’t demonstrating discipline and they’re in charge of operating a nuclear reactor beneath the water in the open ocean.

        • Danomini

          Those Viet Cong sure looked sloppy, hanging about in their pointy hats.

  • skeptic

    Excuse me!

    How does leasing a sub from Russia equal “home built”?

  • Jeffrey

    It is nice to see that India has a good line of defense :)