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Second Test of Submarine Launched K4 in a Week

Published Jan 26, 2020
Updated Feb 29, 2020

India on 24 January successfully test-fired the K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile off the coast of Visakhapatnam for the second time in a week after the last one on January 19.

Both tests were carried out from undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source as quoted by the Times of India.

Times of India also claims that the K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000 to 6,000-km range class.

India is also planning to induct four nuclear powered submarines. At present one, INS Arihant is operational with a weight of 6000 tonnes and will be categorised as SSBN armed with the nuclear powered K 15 which has a range of 750 kms.

As per Missile Defence Advocacy completion of the K-4 will allow the INS Arihant to fulfill its role as a nuclear deterrent to China and Pakistan. This would grant India the capability of launching ballistic missiles from the Bay of Bengal while remaining protected by warships and planes from the Andaman and Nicobar Command based at Port Blair.

The K-4 will greatly increase India’s second-strike capabilities in the region as well while also increasing the nation’s capability against China. While some argue that this could further support India’s “no first use” policy, others speculate that the K-4 may stir an arms race between the regional states.

SLBMs are seen as a weapon of deterrence launched from submarines that can remain undetected for long under the sea and thus unlike land based nuclear weapons will be difficult to neutralize in a first strike.

India’s Nuclear Doctrine of Minimum Credible Deterrence and No First Use deems it imperative that a SLBM be deployed in a nuclear powered submarine so as to provide the country a high degree of assured deterrence vis a vis China and Pakistan two nuclear powers in the region.