Moscow: A senior Russian government official has dismissed media rumours that his country planned to lease several nuclear submarines to India. According to a media report, the official said that the contract envisioned transfer of only the 'Nerpa' vessel.
The 12,000-ton K-152 'Nerpa' is a Schucka-B class (NATO: Akula-II) nuclear attack submarine meant for lease to the Indian Navy for a period of ten years. The submarine was left unfinished with the collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union and was subsequently completed with Indian funds.
"We will lease only one submarine. In my opinion, India needs the sub more for enhancing its prestige rather than for accomplishing specific goals," Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, reportedly said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.
The comment by the deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation runs completely counter to the comment reportedly made by the head of the same organisation in mid-December 2008. (See: Russia to lease "several" Shchucka-B nuclear attack submarines to India)
"Yes, there is a real possibility of leasing for ten years several of our nuclear powered multi-role submarines of Project 971 of 'Shchucka-B' class," the Director of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Mikhail Dmitriyev was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS in that mid-December report.
The same report also quoted officials as saying that the Nerpa (to be inducted into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra) would provide a quantum jump to India's naval capabilities, which is now sought to be contradicted by this report.