Thursday, February 2, 2012

“Chakra” has joined the Indian Navy

The Russian nuclear submarine “Nerpa” re-baptized “Chakra” has joined the Indian Naval Forces. According to the contract, India takes the submarine on a 10 year lease for $ 900 million.

“Chakra” is expected to leave the Primorie shore and start for the place of its permanent dislocation in February. The submarine is expected to be assigned to the Vishakhapatnam base.

According to the comment of the headquarters of the Tikhookeansky Fleet to the Russian newspaper “Kommersant”, the official ceremony of passing the submarine into the Indian ownership took place without media following the request of the Indian side. This is not surprising taking into account the negative attitude of Indian ecologists towards actively developing nuclear cooperation between the two countries which now has entered the military sphere.

Experts say this deal unprecedented in the history of the military business may trigger serious problems due to proliferation of nuclear technologies on the planet. However, at the moment Russian defense sector is trying hard to keep their main market of selling military equipment faced with a number of recent failures. Russian Mi-28N helicopter’s losing the $600 million tender to American Apache, as well as Mig-35 failure to win the contest for India’s acquisition of 126 combat jets with total cost of $10 billion, were hard blows for the Russian side.

The construction of the nuclear submarine “Nerpa” began in 1991. In 2002 the construction was stopped due to lack of financing but in January 2004 it was announced that the contract was signed to finish the construction of the submarine and to give it to India for a 10-year lease. The sum of the contract, according to different sources, is estimated at $650 to $920 million. “Nerpa” became a part of the Russian Naval Forces on December 28, 2009. On December 30, 2011 Russian and Indian sides signed a contract on Russia’s leasing out the nuclear submarine K-152 “Nerpa” to India.

On November 8, 2008 during at-sea testing of the nuclear submarine “Nerpa” in the Japanese sea 20 people were killed and 38 more were injured due to unsanctioned switching on the fire-extinguishing system.

Experts say that considering the multibillion military and technical cooperation between Moscow and Delhi (assessed at more than $50 billion in the period till 2016) leasing the nuclear submarine doesn’t appear to be a big commercial success. Russia will get $100 million pro year for leasing the submarine which is not such a big amount within the framework of the Indo-Russian cooperation. Besides, political, ecological and business risks which may arise in case of a possible of the submarine are considered to have a higher cost.

Among other agreements in the defense sector can be named Delhi’s acquisition of the aircraft carrier “Admiral Gorshkov”, the cost of which has doubled to more than $2 billion due to the delay in construction by the Russian side, as well as three frigates – “Teg”, “Tarkash” and “Trikand”, the total cost of which increased to $1.6 billion.

And now it’s “Nerpa”’s turn to join the Indian Naval Forces. But taking into consideration the above mentioned circumstances it’s hard to say how successful the deal will be. Vladimir Chuprov, the head of the energetic programmes of “Greenpeace Russia”, says in his interview to the Russian newspaper “Novye Izvestia”: “There is no doubt that having obtained in their disposal a nuclear submarine the Indians will duplicate it and create analogous technologies, just as China, North Korea and Iran developing their nuclear programmes with the Russian participation.” He expresses concern about proliferation of the nuclear weapons in the world especially considering tense relationship between India and Pakistan as an additional risk factor.

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