INDIA- RUSSIA MARITIME COOPERATION
06, Mar 2019
Prelims level : Defence Mains level : GS: 3 International relations
- To boost capability at sea warfare, India on signed a mega defense deal worth over $3 billion for the lease of a nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia to be named Chakra III.
- The two countries signed an inter-governmental agreement capping months of negotiations on price and various other aspects of the deal.
- India has gone ahead and signed a deal with Russia despite the threat of US financial sanctions due to an earlier $5.4 billion contract signed last year for S-400 Triumf missile systems.
- The deal for the submarine is said to include refurbishment of the nuclear boat lying mothballed at Severodvinsk, and training and technical infrastructure for its operations. It is expected to replace INS Chakra, the Akula class submarine, that India had taken on a 10-year lease from Russia in April 2012.
- The submarine is expected to with India by 2025 and will be in service with India for at least 10 years. The advantage of nuclear-powered submarines is that they can remain submerged for months at end and there is no need to surface like a conventional submarine which need to come out to recharge their batteries.
- India’s first indigenously built ballistic missile firing submarine INS Arihant, entered service in 2016. INS Arighat, was launched in 2017, and is expected to enter service soon.
- The deal for the Chakra III came days after Indo-Russian joint production facility to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Army was inaugurated by Prime Minister in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi.
- In October, India signed a multi-billion-dollar deal with Russia to procure a batch of S-400 air defence missile system.
- Previously India Navy has taken two more submarines from Russia on lease. The first Russian nuclear-powered submarine — christened INS Chakra — was taken in 1988 under a three-year lease. A second INS Chakra was taken on lease in 2012 for a period of 10 years.
- The lease of Chakra II will expire in 2022 and India is looking at extending the lease.
- India has been significantly bolstering its naval prowess in the backdrop of China’s attempts to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean region.
- The deal has been signed at a time when there is heightened tension between India and Pakistan.