London, Jun 26: With the Navy poised to attain a retaliatory nuclear strike capability, India will soon have a "credible and invulnerable" deterrent nuclear triad in place, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said.
Verma said such a nuclear triad was required in view of India's 'no first-use' policy. Setting out his analysis of India's maritime security, Admiral Verma, who is on a three-day visit to the United Kingdom as part of a bilateral Indian Navy-Royal Navy interaction, said there was increasing awareness in India that "the destiny of our nation is entwined with our maritime destiny".
"A retaliatory strike capability that is credible and invulnerable is an imperative. The Navy is poised to complete the triad, and our maritime and nuclear doctrines would then be aligned to ensure that our nuclear insurance will come from the sea," he said while addressing a conference here yesterday.
India is developing a retaliatory strike capability through weapon systems from land, air and sea. It is believed that it already has the capability to do so from land and air.
It will have the capability to do so with the induction of the indigenous INS Arihant nuclear submarine which is expected to be launched for sea trials in the near future.
Observing that Asian nations were growing at different rates, in different ways, and different economic models, Verma expressed concern over the fact that "it may lead to rapid military growth, non-compliance with the norms of international law, and the use or threat of the use of force."
"Three of the world's four largest economies will be in Asia. Many nations widely perceived to be 'rogue', or 'failed states', also belong to the same region. The region is also recognised by many as the 'primary loci' of 'ostensible' non-state threats in the world," he said commenting on the regional scenario by the year 2025.
"Juxtaposed with these entities are three of the world's four largest Armies, and at least four declared nuclear weapon states... Certainly not a dull neighborhood!" he quipped.
Verma said in view of the situation, the Navy has adopted a capability-based, rather than a threat-based approach for future growth.
"We have articulated a perspective plan that lays out a roadmap for development of capability upto 2027... Our indigenous aircraft carrier project, besides the ongoing construction of destroyers and frigates, LCA (Navy) and strategic submarine programmes are a few examples," he said.
He said the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) programme is planned to be a continuing process over the next decade-plus, as part of the Navy's medium-term aim of having at least two fully operational and combat-worthy carriers available at any given time.
Verma said of the 47 ships and submarines presently on order, 44 are from Indian shipyards. The induction programme of various vessels, he said, has been structured to continue at a pace such that, over the next five years, we expect to induct ships and submarines at an average rate of 5 platforms per year provided the yards deliver as per contracted timelines.
"Our air element is also being strengthened, with the induction of Mig 29K fighters, P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft as well as multirole helicopters," he said.
Navy officials have been saying that the third stealth frigate INS Sahyadri will be inducted into operational service on July 21. This would be the third of the Shivalik Class stealth frigates being produced indigenously by the Mazagon Dockyards Limited.
Verma also said that the Indian Navy has been working with its counterparts in China, Japan and South Korea, to end the scourge of sea piracy and India's efforts had "nearly eradicated piracy in our waters".