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Russia will lease only one nuclear-sub to India

Akula class nuclear attack submarine of Russia. A File photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): A senior Russian official said his government was leasing only one Akula class nuclear attack submarine to India.

"We will lease only one submarine. In my opinion, India needs the sub more for enhancing its prestige rather than for accomplishing specific goals," deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti on Monday.

He denied a report by Interfax Military Newswire, which quoted defence officials as saying that the Indian Navy would get two submarines on lease.

Dzirkaln underscored that the contract envisioned only the transfer of the Nerpa submarine, which is to resume trials next month for delivery to the Indian Navy by the end of this year.

India reportedly paid USD 650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, a Shchuka-B class (NATO codename Akula II) nuclear-powered attack submarine and the completion of the Soviet-era vessel was partly financed by New Delhi.

Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

Nerpa, which would be formally inducted in the Russian Navy prior to lease to the Indian Navy as INS Chakra, is reported to be very similar to the indigenous Advanced Technological Vessel (ATV) nuclear submarine project and the Indian naval officials had said it would be used to train future crews.

The delivery of the submarine was delayed after its on-board fire suppression system went off during its seagoing trials in the Sea of Japan on November 8 last year, releasing a deadly gas into the sleeping quarters killing three of the crew and 17 technical staff of the shipyard.

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