New Delhi: The sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine that Russia is leasing to India for 10 years, as also the training of an Indian crew, have begun ahead of the vessel`s delivery in October-November, sources said here on Friday.
The delivery of the submarine will be as scheduled in October-November, the sources said, rebutting reports that the Akula-II class vessel had already begun its journey to India.
Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, had in June confirmed that Russia would transfer the submarine, to be named INS Chakra, for a 10 year-lease to India in the autumn of 2010.
This followed an agreement inked between New Delhi and Moscow in January 2004, with India partly funding the submarine`s construction at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in the Russian Far East with an initial USD 650 million.
The submarine was scheduled to be inducted in the Indian Navy in mid-2008 but technical problems delayed the process.
After that, just as it began its sea trials in November 2008, 20 sailors and technical workers were killed on it due to a toxic gas leak when the automatic fire extinguishing system malfunctioned.
After repairs, which cost an estimated USD 65 million, the submarine is now fully operational.
Akula-II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.