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India launches nuclear submarine

INDIA yesterday launched the first nuclear-powered submarine built on its soil, joining just five other countries that can design and construct such vessels, the prime minister's office announced.

The Indian navy flooded a dry dock housing the 112 meter-long submarine to send it out for trials at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India does not seek to threaten anyone, Singh said at the ceremony in the southern port city of Vishakhapatnam. "Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon us to take all measures necessary to safeguard our country and to keep pace with technological advancements worldwide."

The United States, Russia, France, Britain and China had the capabilities to develop nuclear submarines.

Still, it could take three to five years for India's submarine to become operational, after undergoing sea trials and getting fitted with a nuclear reactor, surveillance equipment and ordnance.


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