NEW DELHI, Dec 6: India will get two Shchuka-B class nuclear submarines from Russia on lease, Russian news reports were quoted as saying on Tuesday. Two ‘Shchuka-B’, also known as Akula, at different stages of construction since the collapse of the Soviet Union, could be leased to India for ten years in an estimated $ 1.8 billion deal after their simultaneous completion, Russian daily ‘Kommersant’ was quoted by Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying.
Several other defence issues came up for discussion during talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An Indian crew has already arrived in Moscow for training as part of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov deal.
“Due to slippage in the indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project for the development of S-2 nuclear submarine, India is leasing the two submarines as part of the package deal on the acquisition of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier,” PTI said, quoting Russian news reports.
It said that about 200 Indian naval officers had arrived in Russia in October for a course at Russian nuclear submarine fleet’s North-West training centre at Sosnovy Bor, near St Petersburg.
India earlier had received Charlie class K-43 nuclear submarine from the ex-Soviet Union, which was known as INS Chakra, on lease.
Kommersant wrote that at that time Indian crew did not have access to the reactor of INS Chakra, which was manned by the Soviet naval personnel.
The daily also said that Moscow is helping Delhi in designing the nuclear reactor for the ATV, which resembles Russian submarine of Project 09710 ‘Samara’ class (NATO code name Akula-II).
MIG PRODUCTION: In a separate dispatch from Moscow, PTI said Russian aircraft manufacturer Mig will participate in a tender on the licensed production and delivery of 126 fighter aircraft for the Indian air force.
Speaking at the international forum, ‘Russia and India: Strategic Partnership in the 21st Century’, Mig marketing director Mikhail Globenko said the contract could be worth $5-$9 billion.
Mr Globenko said the US, Sweden, France and Russia had submitted their bids. Russia has offered its Mig-29M/M2 fighters with variable vector thrust engines.
AIR BASE: According to another agency report, India and Russia are considering sharing Tajikistan’s Aini air base, which is being modernized by Indian air force (IAF) technical personnel.
“Russia is interested in stationing its helicopter gunships and air force squadrons at Aini airbase.
Talks are underway with the government of Tajikistan,” Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said in Moscow on Monday night after his meeting with Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan.
Under an agreement with the government of Tajikistan, the IAF is modernizing the Aini airbase, near the Tajik capital Dushanbe.