India, Russia Sign $3 Billion Lease For Akula-class Submarine

India, on Thursday, signed a $3 billion deal with Russia to lease an Akula-class submarine for the Indian Navy.

2 min read
File image of an Akula class nuclear submarine, INS Chakra.

India, on Thursday, 7 March, signed a $3 billion deal with Russia to lease an Akula-class submarine for the Indian Navy.

The deal for Chakra III – dubbed the third after two similar vessels India obtained from Russia – will likely see the nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) in Indian waters by 2025.

According to The Economic Times, the submarine "will be customised and fitted with indigenous communications systems and sensors".

"While the mothballed nuclear submarine had been shipped to the Russian port town of Severodvinsk in 2014, sources said that it will be akin to a new vessel once ready, given the extent of work required to make it operational," the report adds.

While the exact lease period of the new submarine is not known, sources quoted by the report indicated that it will be in service with India for at least 10 years.

Strategic Impact

A nuclear-powered attack submarine will help India expand its strike capability. Such submarines have the capability to dive – remain underwater – for months, which makes their detection almost impossible.

The Akula submarines, considered one of the best nuclear vessels in the world, will give India a major boost in terms of stealth and attack capabilities.

The arrival of Chakra III, as pointed in this Firstpost report, will provide a robust enhancement to India's deterrence capabilities.

“While Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) – both of which include Russia, but not India, as a signatory – compulsions mean Moscow will not fit the vessel with nuclear missiles, the submarines are believed to be capable of carrying and launching missiles with nuclear warheads,” the report said.

Chakra II Lease May Also be Extended

Sources quoted by The Print said that negotiations were underway to extend the lease of Chakra II, which ends next year.

“Since the new submarine is only likely to arrive by 2025 at the earliest, both sides are looking to extend the Chakra II lease for at least five more years,” sources quoted by the report said.

The original Chakra had first to come to India on a three-year lease in 1988.

(With inputs from The Economic Times, Firstpost, The Print)

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