India's First Ballistic Missile Sub Ready for Sea Trials

National Journal

India's first ballistic missile submarine is primed to begin sea trials now that its shipboard atomic reactor has achieved critical status, the Indian Tribune newspaper reported on Sunday.

"The nuclear reactor that will power the submarine can be formally declared 'critical' anytime now, while the nuclear-tipped missiles to be launched from underwater are in place," an informed insider said.

The INS Arihant will likely not leave harbor until the middle of next month at the earliest, when India's seasonal heavy rains have subsided, according to sources.

Once the domestically built submarine is at sea, the strategic vessel will progressively be supplied with its missiles and other munitions. Assessments will be conducted after each new weapon is added.

"Each test will be conducted underwater for two months or more," including SLBM assessments, insiders reportedly told the paper.

Meanwhile, India's historic enemy, Pakistan, has called for the two nuclear-armed South Asian nations to hold a new round of peace talks, Reuters reported. The peace process went on ice at the beginning of the year following the murder of two Indian soldiers whose deaths were linked to Pakistan.

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