India & Russia sign $3 billion nuclear submarine deal


  • GS 2 || International relations || India and rest of the world || Russia

Why in news ?

  • India has signed $3 billion deal (inter-governmental agreement) with Russia for leasing of 8,000-tonne Akula class nuclear-powered attack submarine for Indian Navy for period of 10 years.

 Details of the deal :

  • Under this agreement, Russia will have to deliver this submarine, to be known as Chakra III, to Indian Navy by 2025.
  • The deal includes comprehensive package for refurbishment of nuclear submarine, its sustenance and spares support for 10 years as well as training and technical infrastructure for its operations.

Significance of the deal for India :

  • Overall, India needs at least 18 conventional submarines, six SSNs and four SSBNs for effective deterrence in backdrop of China’s attempts to expand its influence in and naval presence in Indian Ocean region.
  • Induction of INS Chakra III submarine will add some much-needed teeth to India’s depleting fleet of just 14 conventional diesel-electric submarines (13 old, and new Scorpene INS Kalvari), SSN (INS Chakra) and a mini-SSBN or “baby boomer” (INS Arihant – nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarine).
  • Due to limitations under international treaties, nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) like INS Chakra is not equipped with long-range nuclear missiles. So it will not be part of India’s nuclear triads. Thus, it is not meant for “nuclear deterrent patrols” but can be used deadly as “hunter-killer” of enemy submarines and warships and is also equipped with land-attack conventional cruise missiles.
  • Moreover, it can also be deployed for ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) missions due to its stealthy nature and capability to stay underwater for extended periods.

 Other submarines leased from Russia :

  • India Navy already has taken two more submarines from Russia on lease. Chakra III will be the third Russian submarine to be leased to Indian Navy.
  • First Russian nuclear-powered submarine christened INS Chakra was taken in 1988 for three-year lease.
  • Second INS Chakra II was taken on lease in 2012 for period of 10 years. Its lease will expire in 2022 and India is looking at extending the lease.

Additional references :

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