India inducts nuclear powered submarine INS Chakra

Visakhapatnam: India today inducted Russian- made nuclear powered submarine `INS Chakra` into the Navy, joining an elite group of nations possessing sophisticated warships. Defence Minister A K Antony formally commissioned the Akula II class Nerpa, rechristened INS Chakra, into the Navy at the Ship Building Complex here in Andhra Pradesh.

With the country entering the select club of nations with nuclear submarines after a gap of two decades, Antony said, "INS Chakra will ensure security and sovereignty of the country." He did not subscribe to the view that the induction of nuclear powered submarines will lead to any arms race in the region. He said the armed forces will be strengthened to meet any challenge. "India does not believe in arms race. We are not a confrontationist nation. We are a peaceloving nation….but, at the same time, the armed forces will be strengthened to meet any challenge," Antony told reporters when asked about Pakistan`s reaction that INS Chakra`s induction will lead to arms race in the region.

"We have a vast land border. We have more than 7500 kms of coastline and more than two lakhs EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zone). We have to protect the sea lanes of our core area of interest," he said. With INS Chakra and indigenously built INS Arihant expected to start operational patrols soon, India will soon have two nuclear submarines guarding its vast maritime boundary. To a question on China`s increasing military capability, Antony said, "Induction of INS Chakra or Vikramaditya (aircraft carrier) warships or any other platform is not aimed at any country.

"It is to strengthen our national security to meet any challenge more effectively," he said. With a maximum speed of 30 knots, the submarine can go upto a depth of 600 metres and has an endurance of 100 days with a crew of 73. The vessel is armed with four 533mm torpedo tubes and four 650mm torpedo tubes. India had leased and operated a Charlie class Russian nuclear submarine in 1988 for training its personnel on such submarines.