Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today congratulated scientists and defence personnel on the activation of the reactor on India's first nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, calling it a "giant stride" in the progress of the country's indigenous technological capabilities.
Earlier, in a major step towards India's goal of achieving the 'triad' – nuclear capability by land, sea, and air – the atomic reactor on INS Arihant was made critical, a major step towards its operational deployment by the Navy.
"The nuclear reactor on-board the INS Arihant has been made critical (activated) last night," defence ministry officials said.
INS Arihant has been undergoing trials at Navy's key submarine base in Vishakhapatnam and would be launched for sea trials soon now that the nuclear reactor has gone critical.
The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has also readied a medium-range nuclear missile called BO-5 being deployment on the Arihant. Its last developmental trial was held on 27 January off the coast of Vishakhapatnam.
The nuclear submarine will help India achieve the capability of going into high seas without the need to surface for long durations.
Prime Minister Singh said in a statement, "I am delighted to learn that the nuclear propulsion reactor on board INS Arihant, India's first indigenous nuclear powered submarine, has now achieved criticality.
"Today's development represents a giant stride in the progress of our indigenous technological capabilities. It is testimony to the ability of our scientists, technologists and defence personnel to work together for mastering complex technologies in the service of our nation's security."
Extending congratulations to all those associated with the important milestone, particularly the Department of Atomic Energy, the Indian Navy and the DRDO, Singh said he looked forward to the early commissioning of INS Arihant.