In view of Indian habit of being jingoistic of its achievements, it is strange that its media is so far silent regarding the launch of its second nuclear powered submarine (S/M) of the Arihant class, the INS Aridhaman, which is likely to be launched within a month. The vessel will undergo harbour and sea trials and is expected to join the Indian Navy (IN) Fleet after 2019. Newly-appointed Defence Minister Sitharamana is likely to be the chief Guest for the launch ceremony. While Arihant, the first Indian indigenous S/M, was a technology demonstrator; Aridhaman will have high power Pressurised Water Reactors of (more than 100 JMW) which enables it to attain speed of 24 knots. The reactor is uranium-based and uses light water as refrigerant. The enriched uranium fuel for the reactor was expected to be available by August 2017, however it is not certain if the same has materialised. The reactor of Arihant went critical on the night of August 9, 2013 during the Harbour Acceptance Trials of the S/M while Aridhaman is likely to follow the same pattern. Once Aridhaman is inducted into the navy, it will finally give India nuclear weapons that could survive a surprise first strike and go on to deal a crushing retaliatory blow to the enemy. In order to be credible, a seagoing nuclear deterrent must have at least one submarine on patrol at all times. Aridhaman will complete India’s triad of air, land and sea nuclear forces yet India, which normally behaves like the hen – which after laying an egg – cackles so loudly as if it has laid an asteroid, is silent. Expecting India to be accident-free in view of its dismal track record and penchant for substandard safety training as well as demonstrated tendency to violate SOPs is tantamount to placing a razor in the hands of a monkey There is perhaps a method to the madness about why IN does not want to create hype regarding the strategic dimension of the platform (in terms of second strike capability) and threatening China and Pakistan. Let us examine the possible motives behind this eerie hush. Firstly, the Indian Navy has had a spate of accidents. In January 1991, the naval frigate INS Vindhyagiri collided with a merchant tanker in Mumbai harbour and sank. It was the fourth time a warship was completely written off in 23 years. Since 1990, the IN has lost one warship in peacetime every five years. Since 2004, it has lost one naval combatant every two years. Few front-line navies have such a bleak record. Five days after the August 14, 2013 explosion that destroyed INS Sindhurakshak, killing 18 crew members, Defence Minister AK Antony told Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Indian parliament) that “preliminary probe indicated the blast was due to possible ignition of armament”. Armed with torpedoes and missiles, the submarine was fully fueled and ready to sail for patrol early next morning; reportedly to be positioned near Pakistan for clandestine operations. The Indian Navy orbat comprise 30 frontline warships and 14 S/Ms thus every loss, which is based on human error rather than technical error, has cost the Indians very dearly. IN has suffered numerous other accidents. The Prahar collided with a lumbering merchant vessel. The INS Agray was cut into half in 2004 when a crew member tossed a misfired anti-submarine rocket overboard. The disturbing factor for Indian defence planners is that IN has not been following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and safety manuals stringently. Sandeep Unnithan, in his Op-Ed titled ‘Indian Navy’s dubious safety record worrisome for national security’ published in India Today on August 26, 2013, reveals that In November 2011, IN was particularly incensed with what a US naval lieutenant had posted on a blog. The unnamed lieutenant, who spent four days on destroyer INS Delhi in the Arabian Sea as part of an exchange programme, called the Indian crew ‘generally clueless’, with ‘almost zero seamanship skills’. A series of smaller mishaps points to the same malady. The August 2009 collision of the missile corvette INS Kuthar with destroyer INS Rabnvir in the Bay of Bengal was traced to a rudder failure, compounded by a flawed maneuver. In 2010, three crew men on destroyer INS Mumbai were instantly killed when an AK-630 Gatling gun went off as safety drills were not followed. The submarine INS Sindhughosh collided twice; once with a fishing boat in 2006 and later with a merchant vessel in 2007. Given the incidents onboard IN S/Ms, the notion of placing nuclear weapon onboard INS Aridhaman; when made repeatedly in the media would draw unnecessary questions. Nuclear reactors require special handling. Even advanced navies like the US or Russia have faced problems and criticism. To expect India to be accident free in view of its dismal track record and penchant for substandard safety training and demonstrated tendency to violates SOPs is tantamount to placing a razor in the hands of a monkey. Pakistan must not let its guard down but should not be overly worried at IN’s expansion. The writer is a retired Group Captain of PAF. He is a columnist, analyst and TV Talk show host, who has authored six books on current affairs, including three on China Published in Daily Times, October 14th 2017.