NEW DELHI (AFP) - India is set to begin sea trials of its first nuclear-powered submarine later this month, joining an elite club that includes neighbouring giant China, defence ministry officials said Monday. The Indian-developed submarine, which would provide the South Asian nation with an underwater ballistic missile launch capability, will begin trials in the Bay of Bengal, off the southern Indian city of Vishakapatnam. This will be the start of a series of strenuous trials which will continue for several months, said one official who declined to be named. The induction of the 7,000-ton vessel will put India alongside Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States in the club of nations with nuclear-powered submarines. The Press Trust of India, quoting unnamed sources, reported the submarine will carry a ballistic missile system first tested in February 2008, but ministry officials declined to confirm or deny the report. The submarine is the first in a planned fleet of five.