India's nuclear submarine INS Arihant is all set to be launched for sea trials in few weeks, giving its Navy the capability to respond to nuclear strikes from sea and thereby completing its nuclear triad.
INS Arihant is currently going through harbour acceptance trials and it now ready for sea trials, Navy sources said.
The harbour trials have gone through smoothly and the sea trials are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Arihant can be expected to start sailing in 2014 on its way to full deployment the following year.
For the India Navy, which was jolted by explosions in its frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak on 14 August, when ammunition was being loaded into it just before deployment, the development and deployment of the nuclear submarine will be a morale booster.
''INS Arihant will provide us with the option for sea-based strategic deterrence, the third leg of the triad,'' Assistant Chief of Navy Staff (Submarine) Rear Admiral L Sarat Babu said.
The nuclear reactor of Arihant achieved criticality on 10 August 2012 and ''the next milestone would be when Arihant puts to sea for her sea trials,'' he added.
He said Naval personnel are currently being trained on INS Chakra, the nuclear submarine leased from Russia.
The Rear Admiral said the vessel has been with the Indian Navy for nearly one-and-a-half years and has helped hone its skill of integrating nuclear submarines across the entire spectrum of naval operations.
Attaining nuclear capability by the Navy is crucial for India's nuclear triad as the country follows a 'no first-strike' policy regarding the use of its nuclear weapons and requires a strong retaliatory capability as a deterrence.
The INS Arihant will be the first of the expected five in the class of submarines designed and constructed as a part of the Indian Navy's Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project.