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India to get Russian nuclear attack sub in days: report


A file photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): Indian Navy is set to receive a major boost when the much-awaited Russian 'Nerpa' nuclear attack submarine would join its fleet "in the next few days" on a 10-year lease worth USD 920 million.

The Akula-II class Nerpa nuclear submarine has finished sea trials and is now ready to be leased to the Indian navy in the next few days, a Russian engineer said Wednesday.

"The submarine is now fully ready to carry out its tasks," a senior executive at the Amur Shipyard, where the submarine was built, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

"It will be handed over before the end of the year," the unnamed official said.

The submarine, capable of remaining underwater for months will be rechristened as 'INS Chakra' and it would be for the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine.

When Russia makes the delivery, it will make India only the sixth operator of nuclear submarines in the world, the report said.

The ten-year lease is worth USD 920 million, it said.

The submarine deal had figured during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Russia earlier this month.

The Nerpa, an Akula II-class attack submarine, had originally been scheduled for delivery in 2008 but an accident during sea trials on November 8 that year forced the Russian authorities to put it on hold.

Twenty people, mostly civilians, were killed when a fire -suppressant gas was released on the Nerpa during shakedown trials, in one of Russia's worst naval accidents.

The Akula-II class submarines are equipped with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a striking range of 3,000 km. The Indian version is reportedly expected to be armed with the 300-km Club nuclear-capable missiles.

India had funded the completion of the Nerpa nuclear submarine at Amur Shipyard before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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