India-Russia sign $3.3 billion nuclear sub lease deal

India-Russia sign $3.3 billion nuclear sub lease deal

Representative image

India on Thursday signed a $ 3.3 billion deal with Russia to take an Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine on lease for 10 years. The submarine is expected to join the Indian Navy by 2025.

An inter-governmental agreement on the leasing of the submarine, to be named Chakra-III, was inked between the two countries at a closely guarded event here.

It will be the third Russian nuclear-powered submarine that India Navy would be operating. It would replace the Chakra-II that was transferred on lease to India in April 2012 for a period of 10 years.

In the late 1980s, Indian Navy operated its first nuclear submarine INS Chakra (or Chakra-I), which too was a Russian Nerpa class underwater boat that was leased to India for three years between 1988 and 1991.

The Chakra experience helped India immensely on its own nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant that are now actively in service.

Chakra-III would be one of the several incomplete Soviet-era Akula hulls that mothballed at the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk.

The hull would undergo a deep refit and fitted with Indian sensors, operation room electronics, and communication equipment before being delivered to India.

Neither India nor Russia have spoken anything officially on the mega defence deal.

Earlier an Indian naval delegation inspected two Akula class submarines and recommended in favour of leasing both. The Cabinet Committee on Security, however, ruled in favour of taking only one.

The India-Russia agreement on nuclear submarine comes four days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kick-started a project to manufacture one of the modern versions of the iconic Kalashnikov (AK-203) assault rifle at an ordnance factory at Korwa.

In the last few years, Russia secured several mega defence deals including S-400 air defence system, frigates for the Navy and K-226T helicopters that will be locally produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.