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INS Arihant to start sea trials in some months: Indian Navy

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Moving a step closer towards completing its nuclear triad, indigenously-developed nuclear- powered submarine INS Arihant will begin sea trials in "some months from now" and start operational patrols by the end of 2012.

"I had said that we will do so in 2012 and by and large we are on track. A firm date can be given only when we have the sea trials which will happen from some months from now," Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told a press conference here.

He was asked about Navy's plans to operationalise the indigenous nuclear submarine.

India already has the capability to launch nuclear weapons from land and air and INS Arihant will complete the triad.

INS Arihant was formally launched in July 2009 and it would be the first in the series of three nuclear-powered submarines that the country is building with assistance from Russia.

It already possesses or is in the process of developing a family of nuclear-capable missiles including the Agni series, Prithvi variants, naval missile Dhanush, and submarine- launched Sagarika.

Verma refused to comment on a time-frame for induction Akula class nuclear submarine Nerpa on leased from Russia.

On the issue of safety procedures to be adopted on board nuclear submarines, Verma said there is a need for a nuclear regulatory authority. Bhabha Atomic Reactor Centre (BARC) would have a big role to play in this regard, he said.

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