Indigenous nuclear submarine of India INS Arihant has suffered major damage due to ”human error” and has not sailed now for more than 10 months, say sources in the Navy.
According to Indian newspaper The Hindu, Arihant is the most important platform within India’s nuclear triad covering land-air-sea modes.
Arihant’s propulsion compartment was damaged after water entered it. A naval source said water rushed in as a hatch on the rear side was left open by mistake while it was at harbour, reported the newspaper.
Since the accident, the Indian submarine , built under the Advanced Technology Vessel project (ATV), has been undergoing repairs and clean up, The Hindu said.
Besides other repair work, many pipes had to be cut open and replaced. “Cleaning up” is a laborious task in a nuclear submarine , the Indian naval source said.
The Arihant issue rose soon after another submarine INS Chakra, the Nerpa class nuclear submarine leased from Russia, was reported to have suffered damage to its sonar domes while entering the Visakhapatnam harbour in early October.
However, INS Chakra has only a peripheral role in the nuclear triad, for both training and escorting, and Arihant is the one that will carry nuclear missiles.
The absence of Arihant from operations came to the political leadership’s attention during the India-China military standoff at Doklam. Whenever such faceoff takes place, countries carry out precautionary advance deployment of submarine assets. Arihant (Code name S2) came into the limelight on July 26, 2009, when Gursharan Kaur, wife of then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, broke a coconut to mark its launch in Visakhapatnam.
After that, the submarine was towed to an enclosed pier for extensive harbour trials from the dry docks at Ship Building Centre, away from public view. Arihant was quietly commissioned into service in August 2016 and its induction is still not officially acknowledged. It is powered by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor with enriched uranium.__The Nation