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India to get Nerpa nuke sub by May' 10

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MOSCOW (PTI): Indian Navy will regain its underwater warfare nuclear capability in the next 60-days with the Russians assuring that the Akula-II class attack submarine the Nerpa would be delivered by mid-May.

The assurance that the nuclear submarine would be delivered "strictly on schedule" was given by top Russian shipbuilding officials to the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is to visit New Delhi on a state visit next month.

Nerpa has been handed over to the Russian Navy for its sea trials.

"The 518th project, the Nerpa submarine is currently completing trials in the Pacific basin. We believe that we will be able to deliver it on time, according to agreed schedule," Chief of the United Shipbuilding Corporation Roman Trotsenko told Putin in a meeting on Thursday.

The Nerpa would be provided to the Indian Navy on 10 year lease and is scheduled to touch the Indian coast some time in May under its rechristened name of INS Chakra.

The Akula-II class Nerpa submarine is one of the Russia's most modern, largest and quietest submarines armed with sophisticated missiles.

The deep sea warfare vessel was hit by an accident in November 2008 while on trial in the Sea of Japan due to release of toxic Freon from its fire-suppression system.

In May 2009 Putin had personally flown to Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East to inspect the defence shipyard and had ordered to complete the project by the end of December.

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