India inducts new Russian-made nuclear submarine

Published: April 4, 2012

Indian Defence Minister AK Antony formally commissioned INS Chakra II at its base in Visakhapatnam. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

NEW DELHI: India returned to the elite club of countries with a nuclear-powered submarine on Wednesday when it inducted a new vessel leased from Russia.

Indian Defence Minister AK Antony formally commissioned the INS Chakra II at its base in Visakhapatnam, a naval shipyard on the country’s southeast coast in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

India is particularly keen to strengthen its maritime capabilities, given China’s pursuit of a powerful “blue water” navy which Delhi sees as a threat to key shipping routes in the Indian Ocean and Indian energy assets in the South China Sea.

“This will be a big boost for the Indian navy,” Antony told reporters after commissioning the vessel.

“The INS Chakra will ensure security and sovereignty of the country,” he said in televised remarks.

The 8,140-tonne submarine, capable of firing a range of torpedoes as well as nuclear-tipped Granat cruise missiles, was offered to India by Moscow on a 10-year lease — a deal greeted with alarm and anger by arch rival Pakistan.

India is currently completing the development of its own Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarine and INS Chakra II is expected to help crews train for the domestic boat’s introduction into service this year.

“Our crews will get the experience of operating under water for several months at a go, unlike with the conventional diesel electric submarines, which have to come to surface at regular intervals,” an unnamed navy official told the PTI news agency.

The Akula II-class craft is the first nuclear-powered submarine to be operated by India since it decommissioned its last Soviet-built vessel in 1991.

With INS Chakra and the INS Arihant expected to start operational patrols by the end of the year, India will soon have two nuclear submarines guarding its vast maritime boundaries.

India signed up for the Russian submarine, formally known as Nerpa, in 2004 and it was slated to be handed over in 2009 but testing problems delayed the delivery.

The submarine was undergoing trials in the Sea of Japan in 2008 when its firefighting system accidentally went off, filling it with a toxic gas that killed 20 people on board.

Media reports also said India had complained that the weapons navigation system did not work to New Delhi’s specifications.

Russia supplies 70 percent of India’s military hardware but New Delhi has been unhappy about delays to arms orders from Moscow and has looked to other suppliers including Israel and the United States in recent years.

Five other countries deploy nuclear-powered submarines — Britain, China, France, the United States and Russia.

India has promised not to arm the submarine with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles under its obligations to international treaties it adopted after conducting a series of atomic tests in the 1990s.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • true_blue_pakistani
    Apr 4, 2012 - 2:18PM

    Are military equipment received from China are quality products or Pakistan is their dumping ground of recycled cheap equipments?


  • From Srinagar
    Apr 4, 2012 - 2:40PM

    A boost for our navy even though its delivery is late.A small additional info that it’ll be based with the eastern fleet not the western fleet,hence it is not as aggressive a move by india as it might seem to many pakistanis.Recommend

  • Megha
    Apr 4, 2012 - 4:01PM

    Heartiest wishes to the Indian Navy and personally much looking forward for INS Arihant..The first condition to ensure peace is to be well equipped to take all corrective actions in today’s environment..though things take too long in India yet its time for us to pay good attention to ensure a strong defence system..26/11 has been world wide mockery about how well our internal security is equipped and should be a tough and good lesson for all of us and the so called ministers..


  • Sweet Dee
    Apr 4, 2012 - 6:11PM

    @From Srinagar (yeah, right)

    Yes, yes, when tensions increase between India and Pakistan, i’m sure the Indians won’t bring the nuclear submarine close to Pakistani waters, after all, it’s based with the eastern fleet and not the western fleet. :rollseyes:


  • Cautious
    Apr 4, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Lets hope the sailors don’t glow in the dark when they return to their families on shore leave – Russia doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to nuclear safety.


  • theeha
    Apr 4, 2012 - 8:45PM

    will it carry sagarika?

    The 8,140-tonne submarine, capable of
    firing a range of torpedoes as well as
    nuclear-tipped Granat cruise missiles,
    was offered to India by Moscow on a
    10-year lease — a deal greeted with
    alarm and anger by arch rival

    haha funny part (bolded)


  • usmanx
    Apr 4, 2012 - 8:56PM

    This is not intended for Pakistan but the Indian Ocean and China. Not everything India does is Pakistan focus. In the past their military was designed to capture maximum territory, particularly Pakistan. This has changed after Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence capabilities. Now their defense focus is on China and Internal secession movements. Submarine is to counter the string of pearls strategy. They know and we know that if they try to repeat 1971 or blockade our ports or cross the international border that we will flatten them and vice versa. Mutually assured destruction. The days of big brother stealing territory are over.


  • Cautious
    Apr 4, 2012 - 9:30PM


    In the past their military was
    designed to capture maximum territory,
    particularly Pakistan.

    No logical basis for that statement — I would argue that if Pakistan wanted to rejoin India they would be turned down – who wants to invite fanatics inside their home?


  • Noise
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:44PM

    I dont think our military can compete with India anymore, nuclear submarines are too much. And despite indian assurances that its meant for it’s eastern waters, well in case of conflict with Pakistan all they have to do is turn it around and send it to Pakistani waters and no one will have a clue its there. A nuclear submarine is faster and can dive deeper and longer compared to our diesel subs. The only thing that can hunt a nuclear sub is another nuclear sub. This one can probably wipe out the entire Pakistan submarine fleet on its own


  • chakra
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:19AM

    we should test any of our missiles immediately.


  • Mumbai Dude
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:55AM

    Allah protects Pakistan, so why are you worried?


  • Binbin
    Apr 6, 2012 - 11:10PM

    Why do Pakistani’s believe India is interested in annexing your property or attacking Pakistan when since 1947 not even 1 centimeter of Pakistani soil has been occupied by India while Pakistan has made numerous attempts to capture more India territory, especially Kashmir and particularly Kargil.

    Even in 1971, India didn’t occupy Bangladesh or annex it because that is not what India does. Taking care of millions more poor people and violent Pastuns is not India’s interest. India needs peace more than Pakistan to develop its economy.


  • realist
    Apr 29, 2012 - 1:05AM

    @Mumbai Dude:
    Good one!


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