MUMBAI: Indian Navy's only nuclear-powered attack submarine, the INS Chakra, has been spotted in the waters of the Singapore Straits. The buzz in maritime circles is that she is returning to Vladivostok, Russia, ten months prior to expiry of her ten-year lease which cost India approximately $2 billion. Escorting her to Vladivostok are a Russian and Indian warship.
According to the NDTV report, the early return of the submarine became necessary because of her ''increasingly unreliable power plant and maintenance issues.’' Yet another issue was the general condition of the ageing vessel, which was extensively used by the Navy to train crews of made-in-India ballistic missile submarines, INS Arihant and INS Arighat, which presently form India's submarine-based nuclear deterrent.
Incidentally, a $3 billion deal was signed in March 2019 for a ten-year lease for a new nuclear-powered submarine, the delivery of which is expected by 2025. This will leave the Indian Navy without a nuclear-powered attack submarine for approximately four years.
The news of INS Chakra’s departure came even as the Union Defence Ministry cleared Navy's mega proposal for building six conventional submarines.
This will be done under Project-75I through a strategic partnership route worth over Rs 45,000 crore. That would make it one of the largest 'Make in India' projects. The first submarine under this project is not expected to enter service for at least another seven years. (INPUT IANS)
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