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India enters P-5 club with induction of nuclear submarine

April 4, 2012 - Vishakhapatnam

India joined the elite club of United States, UK, Russia, France and China with the induction of nuclear power submarine Nerpa on Wednesday, giving a strategic advantage to the operations of the Indian Navy.

On January 23, the K-152 nuclear submarine was officially handed to the Indian Navy under a lease agreement for 10 years at the Zvezda shipyard in the town of Bolshoi Kamen in Russia's eastern region of Primorye.. The contract is worth more than 900 million dollars.

The Russian-origin nuclear submarine Nerpa has been inducted in the Indian Navy for the next 10 years. The induction ceremony was done in the presence of Defence Minister A K Antony inside a high-security dockyard in Vishakhapatnam.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma, said: " It (induction of nuclear submarine) has ushered the Indian Navy into a select group of countries that are operating nuclear submarines. It will give the Indian Navy a credibel presence in the Indian Ocean."

Nuclear-powered submarines are stealthy and can operate underwater at long ranges for months unlike diesel-electric submarines that need to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries and have limitations due to fuel requirements.

The 8,140 tonne submarine renamed INS Chakra can stay under water for 100 days and can travel at a speed in excess of 25 knots. Its arsenal includes anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes, anti-ship missile and surface-to-air missile.

The INS Chakra has ended India's long hunt for a nuke power submarine, but it will take the country another year to get an operational nuclear weapon triad, the capability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.

The nuclear triad will be realised only after the operationalisation of the indigenous SSN, INS Arihant. The defence research and development organisation is developing two submarine-launched ballistic missiles for INS Arihant, which will complete the triad.

The INS Chakra will also be used to train the India Navy crew for indigenous programme.

The project to lease two nuclear submarines was initiated by India in 2002. The deal for the first submarine was signed in New Delhi in January 2004 and for the second in December 2007.

India had earlier taken on lease from 1988-1991 the Charlie-I class nuclear submarine from Russia, which was also named INS Chakra. By Praful Kumar Singh


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