India, today joined the league of selected few countries in the world who can attack its enemy with nuclear weapons from all the three locations i.e. land, water, and sky. This unique capability of attack from all the three locations is also known as the Nuclear Triad of a country. Countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia already have this triad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India’s achievement of Nuclear Triad said, “the success of INS Arihant gives a fitting response to those who indulge in nuclear blackmail.”
What is Nuclear Triad?
As explained above, the country must have the following capabilities for establishing nuclear triad.
Land – Land launched nuclear missiles
Sea – Submarines with missiles carrying nuclear warheads
Sky – Aircraft and Strategic bombers with nuclear missiles and bombs
India with its nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant (capability of carrying the nuclear warhead) joined this league. India already had the nuclear strike capabilities from land and sky. The modified Sukhoi (Su-30MKI) aircraft with Brahmos missile can launch the nuclear missiles and also deliver the nuclear bomb behind the enemy lines. Intercontinental Ballistic missiles like Agni can launch a nuclear offensive from land.
INS Arihant also known as ‘Slayer of Enemies’ is the first indigenously developed nuclear-powered submarine which has completed its ‘deterrence patrol’ or a sort of trial on November 5, 2018. It can destroy the whole city by firing ballistic missiles from under water. Thus, India now has the nuclear attack capability from all the three locations – land, sea, and sky.
Why Nuclear Triad?
India with the completion of its Nuclear Triad has achieved a ‘second strike capability’ which has a distinctive strategic importance for the country as it faces two friendly enemies on two sides. Let us understand this with a hypothetical scenario.
For example, if sometime in future, Pakistan has attacked India and it somehow has destroyed all the land-based nuclear missiles launchers and stations in India. So, does it mean that Pakistan has defeated India or will be able to enter the country?
India Strikes Back
The answer is ‘NO’ because India has a nuclear triad and will launch an offensive using its second-strike capability either from sea or air. So, India’s second-strike will ensure the ‘mutually assured destruction’.
India formulated its nuclear policy during the times of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and it has followed the principle of ‘No First Use’. India has been a responsible nuclear power ever since it has achieved nuclear capability. This nuclear triad has, however, strengthened India’s ‘credible minimum deterrence’.