Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday presided over a meeting of the government's Nuclear Command Authority, which reviewed nuclear-stockpile expenditures and efforts to operationalize the nation's first ballistic-missile submarine, the Times of India reported.
The high-level meeting was attended by India's senior government ministers, national-security adviser and heads of its army, air force and navy. A pressing focus of the Nuclear Command Authority has been the length of time it has taken to acquire the ability to deliver nuclear weapons by air, land and sea. The NCA body has the authority to decide whether to use India's nuclear weapons in a conflict.
India already possesses two legs of the so-called "nuclear triad" -- nuclear-capable bombers and land-based missiles -- but does not yet have a credible ballistic-missile submarine. The nation's first nuclear-armed vessel, the indigenously built INS Arihant, is expected to be completely operational closer to the end of next year, according to anonymous sources.
At present, the submarine is being "readied for extensive sea-trials," according to a source. "It has to be a very careful, deliberative process since this is the first time we have built a nuclear submarine."
Three follow-on submarines to the INS Arihant are in the construction process, the source said.
The Indian military carried out two separate user trial-launches of the atomic-capable Prithvi 2 on Monday and Tuesday, the Press Trust of India reported. The ballistic missile is capable of traveling up to 217 miles.