The first vessel of the Arihant-class of submarines was commissioned in 2016, completing India’s nuclear triad. The ship can carry up to 12 nuclear missiles on board.

India’s first domestically designed and built nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Arihant, has successfully returned from its first “deterrence patrol” mission, India’s NDTV channel reported. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated everyone involved in the submarine’s construction for what he called a “historic accomplishment.”

“In an era such as this, a credible nuclear deterrence is the need of the hour. The success of INS Arihant gives a fitting response to those who indulge in nuclear blackmail,” Modi said.

Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman joined the congratulations and noted that India is now among the small number of states that can “design, construct and operate strategic strike nuclear submarines.” Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called the first successful patrol of the nuclear submarine “a momentous occasion for India” that will go “a long way in safeguarding our strategic and security interests.”

The INS Arihant is a 6,000 ton submarine, powered by an 80 MW nuclear reactor, capable of reaching a speed of 24 knots when submerged and can carry up to 12 × K-15 Sagarika sea-launched ballistic missiles, or up to 4 larger K-4 missiles. With the construction of its first nuclear-powered nuclear-capable submarine, India has completed the triad of its nuclear forces, which had earlier consisted of only land-based ballistic missiles and strategic bombers.

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