India and Russia on Thursday inked a deal worth three billion dollars for a nuclear-powered submarine for the Indian Navy. The submarine will be acquired on a lease of ten years to enable the Indian officers and sailors to gain operational experience in handling such complex machines. At present, India has one Russian submarine on lease. The Navy had acquired a submarine in the 1980s too from Russia.
As of now, India has 12-14 conventional submarines powered by diesel and two nuclear-powered submarines, including indigenously manufactured INS Arihant and INS Chakra. The latter was inducted on a lease for ten years some years back and the lease term is expected to end in 2022.
The proposed new submarine, likely to be inducted in 2025, will help the Indian crew in mastering the technology and the experience will come in handy while using the three follow-up submarines after Arihant. They are under construction in India. The Russian submarine will be named INS Chakra Three. Negotiations for the submarine was on for the last two years and sources said the lease of the present INS Chakra may be extended by another five years till INS Chakra Three joins service.
Incidentally, the new deal is the biggest since the two countries inked a 5.5 billion dollar deal for five S-400 missile defence systems last year. The two countries recently signed another deal for manufacturing more than seven lakh AK-203 rifles in India. The deal is worth over `12,000 crores and the rifles will be manufactured at Amethi factory of Ordnance Board.