Russian Attack Submarine For India
by MG Singh
China has nuclear submarines, and these patrol the Bay of Bengal. The Chinese navy also has a refueling base in Burma as well. To counter the Chinese threat, #India had been leased a nuclear submarine by the erstwhile Soviet Union in the eighties for experience in handling a nuclear-powered submarine. The Submarine was later returned to the successor state #Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. India and Russia however, maintained strong military ties and in 2011 a nuclear-powered submarine was handed over to the Indian navy by Russia. The navy was based at the Eastern Naval command base at Visazagapatnam.
Indian Nuclear-Powered Submarine
The navy commissioned the submarine into active service in 2012. The submarine leased was the Akula class SSN attack vessel. This is in service as the INS Chakra.
India wished to further beef up its military capability against China and was keen for a second nuclear submarine. The deal for the same was signed at the recent BRICS summit at Goa between Russia and India. The submarine is the same Akula-class already in service with the Indian navy. The deal is worth close to $2 billion. The earlier submarine deal was $1.5 billion. The Akula-class submarines are good, but a shade inferior to the American Navy's similar Sea-wolf class submarines.
The Indian navy wanted the more advanced Project Yasin 885 class submarines but only one is in service with the Russian navy and it will be years before more are built. Hence the Indian navy accepted the Akula-class submarine. The vessel which is in service with the Russian navy will be modernized and delivered to India by 2020-21.
India is also constructing its own nuclear-powered submarine with Russian help but the project may take a few more years. Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union Indo-Russian military ties remain strong. Modi is a shrewd manipulator and has not put all his eggs in the American basket, though India is going in for a strategic alliance with it.