Moscow: Russia has handed over a new
nuclear powered submarine armed with torpedoes and cruise
missiles to India and the vessel has set sail for home with a
mixed crew of Indian and Russian sailors.
The Akula class nuclear attack submarine on a ten year
lease to the Indian Navy left its base on the Pacific coast
earlier this week, bound for India, RIA Novosti and Interfax
news agencies reported.
With the expected induction of Nerpa by year-end, it
will be after 19 years that the Indian navy would have a
nuclear submarine in its fleet.
India`s indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant is
presently undergoing sea test trials.
However, an official of the shipyard said that the
submarine was still undergoing final sea trials. The Russian
Navy`s Pacific Command refused to comment.
Reports said that the Nerpa submarine which has been
re-christened INS Chakra leased at a cost of USD 650 million
is accompanied by Russian instructors, who will help Indian
naval crew to bring it to the new port of deployment.
"The Nerpa has not been yet handed over to the Indian
Navy," an official of the Amur Shipyard in Russia`s far
eastern Khabarovsk region said over phone.
"Presently the joint Indian-Russian naval crew is
completing the combat training on the high seas," the shipyard
But experts here do not rule out that the Russian Navy
wants to formally hand over Nerpa to the Indian Navy on the
Indian coast and the so-called training mission could be a
cover for security reasons.
The submarine has been handed over two years after an
accident onboard during testing killed 20 people. The Amur
shipyard, the builders of the sub said the vessel was now
completely retrofitted after the November 2008 accident
Russia`s Akula-II class submarine is considered to
be the quietest nuclear submarine and during its trials by the
Russian Navy since January its acoustic noises have been
further reduced by the Amur Shipyard, which was initially to
deliver the submarine in 2007.