• India and Russia have inked a $3 billion nuclear submarine deal.
• The Indian Navy will get the submarine— re-christened as Chakra III— on lease from Russia and is expected to serve the Indian Navy for at least a decade.
• Chakra III is the Russian Navy’s K-322 Kashalot (Akula II-class) SSN (Submarine Nuclear).
• The SSN will be fitted with the indigenously-developed USHUS integrated sonar system as well as the Panchendriya sonar, a unified submarine sonar, and tactical control system.
• The Akula II-class, the 8,140-ton Chakra III will have a submerged speed of 30 knots and an operating depth of 530 meters. It will hold a crew of 73.
• The submarine could be delivered to the Indian Navy by 2025.
Significance of Leasing
• The main purpose behind leasing the Russian nuclear-powered submarines is to train Indian naval personnel in manning the country’s own fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.
• The Chakra-III is expected to give India an edge over its rivals in the Indian Ocean region given one of the major strengths of a nuclear submarine is its ability to remain underwater for months, making detection difficult.
• The addition of this submarine will be a major boost to India’s role as the net security provider in the Indian Ocean region, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes.
History of Leasing
• In 1988, the Indian Navy leased for three years a nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine that was christened INS Chakra.
• In 2012, Indian Navy took on lease for 10 years, a second submarine christened Chakra II, which currently serves with the Eastern Naval Command.
India’s own SSBN fleet
• India is also developing the Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN) fleet under the Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) project.
• India’s first indigenously-built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the INS Arihant, entered service in 2016. A second, the INS Arighat, was launched in 2017 and is undergoing sea trials.
India-Russia Defense Cooperation
• Recently, India and Russia have also signed a deal for the S-400 Triumf air defense missile system for over $5 billion.
• India and Russia have also signed agreements for construction of frigates under Project 1135.6 and formation of joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India.
• Russia is also establishing a manufacturing unit for AK-203 assault rifles under a joint venture in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.
Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: India – Russia Submarine Deal
Mains level: Read the story