INDIA IN TALKS FOR 2ND NUKE SUB LEASE: RUSSIAN ENVOY

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 07:48

In a bid to bolster its Defence and strategic reserves, India is in talks with Russia for buying various military products. Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin told The Pioneer that the two sides are actively negotiating on the purchase of S-400 Russian air defence missiles for protection of Indian cities from any possible attacks from outside. Besides, India is negotiating for taking on lease another nuclear submarine from Russia. India is also looking at buying some more MiG 29K fighters for INS Vikramaditya, India’s largest Naval ship and aircraft carrier, bought from Russia, the envoy said.

Speaking on the eve of Russia’s Diplomats’ Day, Kadakin said India-Russia defence relationship has been on a constant rise over the years. The ambassador added that India-Russia relationship is independent of their relations with other countries, and it remains on a stable and strong footing. “We do not feel jealous when India acquires military hardware from other countries for its strategic needs. India is a superpower in the making and we have worked always with India in military, industry and scientific areas to see it as strong as it is today,” Kadakin said.

“Please name a country that can lease a nuclear submarine,” he added to underline Russia’s partnership with India. India is one of the six countries in the world apart from Russia, the United States of America, China, the United Kingdom and France to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

This is the first time there has been an official confirmation about lease of second nuke submarine even though speculation is rife about India seeking another one from Russia after the success of INS Chakra, the Akula Class submarine that has been on lease from Russia for ten years. “The hull of the submarine is ready but it has to be refurbished as per Indian needs after the talks are concluded,” Kadakin said on the second nuclear submarine. INS Chakra was inducted into Indian Navy about four years back. Satisfied with its performance, India is now looking at adding more to its fleet. Already India-made nuke-powered sub INS Arihant is undergoing sea trials. INS Arihant is made with technical support from Russia and India plans to make more such in future.

Kadakin said an agreement is also being worked out for making spare parts of Sukhoi aircraft in India. Besides, Russia will soon open at least four service centres in India for the Su-30 MKI jets to help resolve the maintenance issues of the plane. As of now Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) runs the only overhauling facility for the Sukhois in India. India has about 200 Su-30 MKI jets. Kadakin said an agreement for service centre is being finalised and will be announced soon.

Interestingly, India’s shopping list has a lot of Make in India component in it. “Our Defence relationship is completely in tune with Make in India Sukhoi spare parts will be made in India. Besides, India and Russia have already concluded a deal for Kamov Ka-226 helicopters. Russia will help India produce 200 of these machines through HAL,” Kadakin said.

Apart from strengthening India’s military capacity, Kadakin said Russia is also working its way with Pakistan to prevent cross border terror attacks on India. “We have tried to influence Pakistan to check trans-border terrorism and have spent a lot of energy in directing its efforts in the right direction. We want Pakistan to play much more proactive role in fighting terrorism,” Kadakin said.

Allaying Indian concerns on Russia selling four Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan, Kadakin said Russia will not do even “one milimetre of action” that is detrimental to its “old and strategic partnership” with India. “There should be no worries for India. India has received 151 of Mi-17 helicopters and will be producing several more,” the envoy said.

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