India on Sunday has launched its first nuclear-powered submarine in a ceremony in southern port city of Vishakhapatnam, becoming one of just six nations in the world to have successfully built one.
Indian military officials said the submarine would be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, however Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who attended the ceremony, said that the it was not built to threaten India’s neighbors, The New York Times reports.
The launch marked India's entry into the select club of five - U.S., UK, Russia, France and Chin- that can build and operate nuclear-powered submarines, a vital part of the nuclear triad that gives India the ability to launch a "second strike" nuclear attack from land, air and now, the sea, RTT News reports.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who launched the submarine, called it a "historic milestone in the country's defense preparedness.
It has taken India nearly two decades to develop the Arihant, which means "Destroyer of Enemies." It has been built with technical assistance from Russia, Voice of America reports.
"I would also like to express our appreciation to our Russian friends for their consistent and invaluable cooperation, which symbolizes the close strategic partnership that we enjoy with Russia," Singh declared in his speech at the eastern naval base of Visakhapatnam, CNN International reports.