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India’s Nuclear-Sub Ready For Sea Trials

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India's Nuclear-Sub Ready For Sea Trials

India’s Nuclear-Sub Ready For Sea Trials

New Delhi: In a major boost to indigenisation of defence manufacturing, India’s first nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarine INS Arihant will head out for sea trials by the year-end.

“INS Arihant will be ready for sea trials by the end of this year,” an anonymous source, aware of the developments relating to the 6,000-tonne submarine, was quoted as saying.

Once the trials are through and the submarine enters service, India will not only complete its nuclear triad of delivering nuclear weapons from land, sea and air, but also join an elite club of six nations that operate nuclear submarines carrying ballistic missiles. The US, Russia, France, Britain and China are the other nations with this capability.

The INS Arihant’s miniaturised nuclear reactor, built with Russian help, had gone critical last year and the vessel has been going through a series of harbour trials since then at Visakhapatnam, where it is being built.

The submarine has also been going through the power-up cycle of its nuclear reactor and has now achieved a nearly 100 percent power level, the official said.

“Its reactor had gone critical last year. We are now close to attaining 100 percent its power,” the official said, adding: “The nuclear reaction is highly controlled. It is something similar to nuclear power plants, but extra caution is needed. The reactor is now functioning perfectly well,” the official said.

Once the submarine attains 100 percent power, it will head out to sea for its final trials, which will include the firing of the indigenous Bo5 missile that has a 700-km range and can carry a one tonne nuclear warhead. INS Arihant can carry 12 such missiles.

The vessel, the lead ship of the Arihant-class submarines, was launched in 2009. Its design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarines and its 83MW pressurised heavy water reactor has been built with significant Russian assistance.

While its 100-member crew has been trained by Russian specialists, Indian scientists at Mumbai’s Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have received significant expertise in reducing the size of the reactor to help it fit into the 10 metre diameter hull of the submarine.

The Indian Navy currently operates the INS Chakra nuclear-powered submarine leased for 10 years from Russia in 2012.

Nuclear submarines stay out at sea for longer periods than diesel-electric powered boats and can also remain under water for longer durations. Conventional submarines have to surface at regular intervals for re-charging their batteries, making them vulnerable to detection.

Two other vessels of the Arihant class are also believed to be under construction at Visakhapatnam’s state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited.

In the meanwhile, Indian scientists have developed technology that will enable the navy’s conventional non-nuclear submarines stay under water for up to two weeks before replenishing their oxygen supply, thus increasing their stealth capabilities.

“Conventional submarines usually need to come to the surface every three to four days for replenishing their oxygen supply,” an official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has developed the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, said.

For the replenishment, a diesel submarine has to come to periscope depth and raise its snorkel, which makes it vulnerable to detection.

“With AIP, a conventional submarine can stay under water for up to two weeks,” the official said, adding that India is the only non-Western nation to have developed the technology.

AIP can replace or supplement the diesel-electric propulsion systems of conventional submarines. It also makes a vessel noise-free.

The system, which is in an advanced stage of development, will be mounted on last two of the six Scorpene submarines being manufactured in India in collaboration with France.
These two submarines are expected to be ready in a couple of years, along with the AIP system.

“We took up the project in 2010, and the work is in an advanced stage. The tests are going on,” the official said.

The DRDO is also hopeful that the system will be used in the six conventional submarines that were recently cleared for being domestically manufactured.

“So far it is not clear who will be making the six new conventional submarines, but if it is successful in the Scorpene, it will open the door for its incorporation in other submarines as well,” the official said.

The system, which is based on a fuel cell, converts methanol-like substances to produce hydrogen, which in turn produces electricity. While diesel engines need oxygen to function, these cells are air independent.

The official said the Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) based in Ambernath in Maharashtra, which has developed the AIP, has already tied up with several Indian Public Sector Units (PSUs) and the private sector as partners in the project. Production will start as soon as the final tests are over.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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