The worlds largest democratic nation took another step on it’s journey to develop a blue-water navy. India has taken delivery of a Russian Akula class nuclear attack submarine. Though this program has been on and off for some 12 years now, it marks another milestone on India’s path to playing with the big boys. India, United States, Russia, China, France and Great Britain are the only nations possessing nuclear-powered submarines.
From The Times of India:
Nerpa quietly left its base on Russia’s Pacific coast earlier this week, with over 50 Indian sailors on board, on what will be an extensive and complex process of training, testing and acceptance trials spread over several weeks before the Akula-II class submarine is commissioned into Indian Navy as INS Chakra.
The ‘Charlie-I’ class nuclear submarine India had leased from Russia from 1988 to 1991 was also named INS Chakra but the expertise gained on it was steadily lost since Indian Navy did not operate any other nuclear submarine thereafter.
Nerpa’s lease flows from an agreement inked between New Delhi and Moscow in January 2004, with India funding part of Nerpa’s construction with an initial sum of $650 million. The final lease and training agreements were finalized during Russian PM Putin’s visit.