PM says all necessary steps would be taken to safeguard national security

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Visakhapatnam, July 26 (ANI): Launching India's first indigenously-built nuclear submarine 'INS-Arihant' here on Sunday afternoon, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh praised the people responsible for its construction, and said all necessary steps would be taken to safeguard the country and promote technological advancements in tune with worldwide practices.

Addressing an august gathering of officials, naval personnel and guests, Dr. Singh said: "The Government is fully committed to ensuring the defence of our national interests and the protection of our territorial integrity. We will continue to render all support to the constant modernization of our armed forces and to ensuring that they remain at the cutting edge of technology."

"We do not have any aggressive designs nor do we seek to threaten anyone. We seek an external environment in our region and beyond that is conducive to our peaceful development and the protection of our value systems. Nevertheless it is incumbent upon us to take all measures necessary to safeguard our country and to keep pace with technological advancements worldwide. It has rightly been said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," he added.

Dr. Singh lauded all those associated with the ATV Programme, saying that the launch of the INS Arihant reflected the immense technical expertise that exists in the country and the strength of the research and development organizations.

"The years of hard work, dedication and perseverance that have gone into today's launch are an example worthy of emulation. They show that no task is difficult and that there is no greater power than the power of self-belief. I am confident that the lessons learnt from this launch will enable the ATV Programme to achieve even better results in the coming years," he said

The 6000-tonne submarine will undergo sea trials for two years before being commissioned in the Indian Navy.

The INS Arihant is armed with nuclear-tip ballistic missiles. DRDO and BARC scientists described the launching of the nuclear submarine as a historic and challenging achievement.

India used a nuclear submarine leased by Russia from 1988 to 1991. New Delhi has since signed an agreement with Moscow for the transfer of a couple of nuclear -powered Russian-Akula class submarine, one of which is expected to be inducted by the Navy later this year. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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