Monday, July 27, 2009

India Launches Nuclear Submarine: Consequences for Pakistan?

India Launches Nuclear Submarine
New York Times, July 26, 2009

NEW DELHI — India launched its first nuclear-powered submarine in a ceremony in southern port city of Vishakhapatnam on Sunday, becoming one of just six nations in the world to have successfully built one.

After years of relying on rented Russian submarines, the government unveiled the 367-foot Arihant, which means “destroyer of enemies” in Hindi. The new vessel is part of a broad effort by the Indian government to create a military that matches India’s rising global stature.

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.

“We do not have any aggressive designs,” he said. “We seek an external environment in our region and beyond that is conducive to our peaceful development and the protection of our value systems.”

India first tested a nuclear bomb in 1974, but it has been shut out of the group of recognized nuclear powers for decades. India has not signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, arguing that the current list of accepted nuclear powers does not reflect reality.

But after years of isolating India because of its nuclear program, the United States has moved in recent years toward closer ties, and in 2008 the Bush administration agreed to trade civilian nuclear power equipment with India in exchange for greater monitoring. India agreed to allow international inspection of its civilian nuclear reactors.

Pakistan, India’s neighbor to the west, also has nuclear weapons, and the two countries have fought three wars since the partition of British-ruled India produced the two nations in 1947, making the region perhaps the most dangerous nuclear flashpoint in the world.

India’s nuclear submarine to trigger arms race: Pak Navy - Dawn
Pushing South Asia Toward the Brink - Foreign Policy in Focus
India's 'enemy destroyer' sets sail - Asia Times

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