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India pays $3B to lease nuclear sub from Russia

By Allen Cone
India leases a nuclear-powered sub from Russia, called Chakra II, and signed a deal to acquire another one. Photo courtesy of <a class="tpstyle" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:INS_Chakra.jpg">Indian Navy/Wikimedia Commons</a>
India leases a nuclear-powered sub from Russia, called Chakra II, and signed a deal to acquire another one. Photo courtesy of Indian Navy/Wikimedia Commons

March 11 (UPI) -- India has signed a $3 billion deal to lease a nuclear-powered submarine from Russia.

The contract for the Akula-1 class submarine includes refurbishment of the sub, which has been mothballed at Severodvinsk. It also includes sustenance and spares support for 10 years, as well as training and technical infrastructure, the Times of India reported.

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The nuclear-powered class of submarines, known in Russia as Shchuka-B, is armed with cruise missiles as well as torpedoes, anti-aircraft missiles and mines.

India expects the ship, which will be called Chakra III, to be ready by 2025.

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The nation is leasing another Akula-class submarine, Chakra II, for 10 years through 2022 and is negotiating an extension. The first Russian nuclear-powered submarine, Chakra was leased in 1988 for three years.

"If a second nuclear-powered attack submarine is leased, it would significantly add to the Navy's underwater domain capability," India military affairs expert, retired Rear Adm. Sudarshan Shrikhande told Hindustan Times.

In all, India operates 13 aging conventional submarines, including the one leased from Russia.

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Last November, India declared its first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, which are designed as SSBN.

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Nuclear-powered submarines are not equipped with long-range nuclear missiles because of international treaties. But they include cruise missiles to attack land targets, and can be deployed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions underwater for extended periods.

Non-nuclear subs must surface or "snorkel" every few days to get oxygen to recharge the diesel-electric batteries.

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Last October, India signed a $5.4 billion contract to purchase five Russian S-400 Triumf mobile missile systems.

At the time, the United States expressed concern over the purchase and said that sanctions could not be ruled out.

The United States can impose sanctions on any country that has "significant transactions" with Iran, North Korea or Russia, according to the Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act signed into law in 2017.

Russia is India's major supplier of small arms. Kalashnikov, a Russian manufacturing weapons company, opened a factory in India last week, RT reported.

The Indian Navy also has been acquiring Russian-built vessels since the late 1960s, including the Russia Kirov-class aircraft carrier, now called Vikramaditya, several frigates and littoral combat ships.

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