India commissions nuclear submarine INS Chakra

After a gap of two decades, India joined the elite club of nations having nuclear-powered submarines with the induction of the Russian-origin `Nerpa` into the Navy Wednesday.

Visakhapatnam: India on Wednesday inducted Russian-
made nuclear powered submarine `INS Chakra` into the Navy,
joining an elite group of nations possessing sophisticated

Defence Minister A K Antony formally commissioned the
Akula II class Nerpa, rechristened INS Chakra, into the Navy
at the Ship Building Complex here in Andhra Pradesh.

With the country entering the select club of nations with
nuclear submarines after a gap of two decades, Antony said,
"INS Chakra will ensure security and sovereignty of the

He did not subscribe to the view that the induction of
nuclear powered submarines will lead to any arms race in the
region. He said the armed forces will be strengthened to meet
any challenge.

"India does not believe in arms race. We are not a
confrontationist nation. We are a peaceloving nation....but,
at the same time, the armed forces will be strengthened to
meet any challenge," Antony told reporters when asked about
Pakistan`s reaction that INS Chakra`s induction will lead to
arms race in the region.

"We have a vast land border. We have more than 7500 kms
of coastline and more than two lakhs EEZs (Exclusive Economic
Zone). We have to protect the sea lanes of our core area of
interest," he said.

With INS Chakra and indigenously built INS Arihant
expected to start operational patrols soon, India will soon
have two nuclear submarines guarding its vast maritime
To a question on China`s increasing military capability,
Antony said, "Induction of INS Chakra or Vikramaditya
(aircraft carrier) warships or any other platform is not aimed
at any country.

"It is to strengthen our national security to meet any
challenge more effectively," he said.

With a maximum speed of 30 knots, the submarine can go
upto a depth of 600 metres and has an endurance of 100 days
with a crew of 73. The vessel is armed with four 533mm torpedo
tubes and four 650mm torpedo tubes.

India had leased and operated a Charlie class Russian
nuclear submarine in 1988 for training its personnel
on such submarines.

Antony said, "INS Arihant will be ready for sea trials
sometime this year."

He also said the induction of INS Vikramaditya, earlier
called `Admiral Gorshkov`, will take place "sometimes early
next year".

On future induction of platforms in the Indian Navy, he
said four warships, including INS Vikramaditya, were expected
to be delivered at the end of this year, besides 15 fast
interception craft.

"In the next few years, the Navy will get more
submarines," the Defence Minister said.
He refused to share details with the media about the cost
of leasing INS Chakra from Russia. He said there is a proposal
for leasing another submarine but refused to take queries on
the issue.

"There is a proposal. But we have not taken any
decision...Cost is not necessary, but India can afford it,"
Antony said.

On whether the process of procuring submarines from
Russia was too long and slow, he said, "We want speedy
procurement and we will modernise our armed forces as quickly
as possible. At the same time, zero tolerance to corruption is
also our policy."

INS Chakra has been taken on lease from Russia for 10
years and would provide the Navy the opportunity to train
personnel and operate such nuclear-powered vessels.
India had signed a deal with Russia in 2004 worth over
USD 900 million for leasing the submarine.

It was expected to be inducted a couple of years back,
but after an on-board accident in 2008, in which several
Russian sailors died, the delivery schedule was changed.
Indian Navy personnel have already been imparted training
in Russia for operating the submarine. A crew of over 70
people, including around 30 officers, is required to operate
INS Chakra.