The Indian Navy has commissioned into service the first-ever indigenously built nuclear armed submarine — INS Arihant — maintaining complete secrecy, with no official announcement .

INS Arihant was commissioned in August. With this India has gained the title of a ‘nuclear triad’ power, after the US, the UK, Russia, China and France, sources told BusinessLine . A ‘nuclear triad’ power is a country that has the capability to launch nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.

“It (INS Arihant) has gone through severe sea trials and was finally inducted in the Navy in August and has been operational since then,” a top official said.

When asked about the reported commissioning at an event here on Tuesday, GS Pabby, Vice-Admiral and Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition, Indian Navy, while refusing to confirm or deny the matter, said an announcement would be made soon.

“There will soon be an opportunity to talk about it,” Pabby said, while addressing industry chamber FICCI during a curtain-raiser event on ‘Current and Future Challenges in Design and Construction of Underwater Vehicles.’

INS Arihant, which means ‘slayer of enemies’, is a 6,000-tonne SSBN (ship submersible ballistic, nuclear submarine), that can carry ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

The Arihant project, earlier known as the advanced technology vessel (ATV), has been under development since 1998. It was finally launched at the headquarters of India's Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam, on July 2009 by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and was built at an approximate cost of $3 billion.

The submarine was jointly developed by the Indian Navy, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The hush-hush manner in which INS Arihant has been reportedly commissioned comes days after reports have emerged that China is helping Pakistan strengthen its nuclear arsenal.

“INS Arihant is an asset to the Indian Navy. The world over, navies are built by building capabilities. Navies are structured around capabilities. This is yet another example of the navy achieving self-reliance,” said Sujeet Samaddar, independent consultant on defence and aerospace.