india, russia to discuss leasing of another nuclear powered attack submarine, AK-47s

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The leasing of another Akula-II class nuclear powered attack submarine for $ 3.3 bn, deal for Kalashnikov’s AK-47 rifles to be made in India, besides other critical issues will be on the table for discussion between Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu next week

The Akula-II submarine is expected to replace INS Chakra, which was taken on a 10-year lease from Russia for .5 billion in 2011 and the lease is expiring in 2022.

The leasing of another Akula-II class nuclear powered attack submarine for $ 3.3 bn, deal for Kalashnikov’s AK-47 rifles to be made in India, besides other critical issues will be on the table for discussion between Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu next week.

The Akula-II submarine is expected to replace INS Chakra, which was taken on a 10-year lease from Russia for $2.5 billion in 2011 and the lease is expiring in 2022.

Highly placed sources told Financial Express Online that, “The Russian Minister is coming for the plenary session of Indian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical cooperation (IGC-MTC) from Dec 12-13.” He is accompanied by Dmitriy Shugaev, Director, Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of the Russian Federation, and is responsible for defence exports.”

Adding, “Both sides will review the progress made in various projects between the two countries in the Military Sector as well as critical issues including joint training, high level exchanges and joint exercises.”

While the navies of the two countries are have been conducting the bilateral Maritime Exercise ‘INDRA NAVY’, since 2003 and INDRA Tri-Services Exercise since 2017, the next edition of Exercise INDRA-Navy is scheduled off Visakhapatnam later this month.

The two sides will also review the progress on government to government agreement under which the Kalashnikov AK-series rifles will be produced at state owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) Trichy and Rifle Factory Icapore. Russia’s Kalashnikov’s is offering AK-103 modernised version of the AK-47/AKM rifle already in use by the Indian Army, and Para military Forces to be Made in India.

The visit of the Russian minister assumes significance as it coming close on the heels of the recently concluded outward visit of the Indian Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba to Moscow where he had various meetings including discussions with FSMTC director Shugaev.

Following the visit of the naval chief, a high level delegation from the Indian Navy had visited Russia for inspecting two Akula-2 class SSNs (SSN is nuclear-powered submarines)- Bratesk and Samara.

According to a report in India Today, “A naval delegation led by Inspector General (Nuclear Safety) Vice Admiral Soonil V Bhokare returned after a tour of Russia. They inspected two Akula-2 class submarines, the Bratsk and the Samara, laid up for a deep refit at the Zvezdochka shipyard in the Arctic port of Severodvinsk.”

If the lease of the Akula-II at a cost of $ 3.3 bn is finalised soon, the military trade between the two countries in FY 2018-19 will touch $ 11 bn as it will include the recent deals: $ 5.5 bn purchase of five S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems and the recently approved $ 1 bn deal to buy two Admiral Grigorovich class frigates from Russia.

SSNs can be used for multiple tasks like hunting enemy submarines, escorting SSBNs and aircraft carriers and stalking and chasing enemy aircraft carriers and their warship escorts. SSNs differ from nuclear-missile armed SSBNs like the Navy’s INS Arihant which completed a deterrent patrol last month.

A year ago, the INS Chakra had a major accident which left it non operational as some of the panels covering its sonar dome had sheared away while it was doing a high speed underwater run. Earlier this week, Admiral Lanba responding to a question said that after repairs the INS Chakra is back in service.

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