Russia not to lease Nerpa nuke sub to India
11/18/2008 6:26:26 PM
The Russian Navy will keep the accident-hit K-152 Nerpa nuclear attack submarine rather than lease or sell it to India with which negotiations were held about a possible deal worth millions of dollars, a top defence official in Moscow said on Tuesday (18 NOV).
"The sum of $650-780 million, which Rosoboronexport and the Amur Shipbuilding Plant had negotiated over a long period of time with the Indian Ministry of Defence, will now be found in Russia, either within the state weapons procurement programme or somewhere else," Chief of the General Staff, Army General Nikolai Makarov, told the government daily 'Rossiiskaya Gazeta'.
The construction of the Akula II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine started in 1991, but was suspended for over a decade due to lack of funding. A toxic gas leak aboard the vessel during sea trials recently had left 20 people dead.
Under the larger Gorshkov package, the construction of the submarine was partially financed by India at the cost of $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-tonne Akula-II class vessel considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.
General Makarov's statement came shortly after the local media reported that Russian Navy was interested in keeping Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier in case Moscow and New Delhi fail to agree on final price of the refit of the Soviet-built vessel.
In a statement last week, top officials of the Severodvinsk-based Sevmash shipyard had asked for $2 billion more for the upgradation of the 44,000-tonne Kiev Class aircraft carrier. "The Russian Navy will buy it if no price is agreed with India," an unnamed Defence Ministry official was quoted as saying by government-run RIA Novosti.
Under the $1.5 billion Gorshkov deal signed in January 2004, India was to pay $650 for the refit of the rusting vessel, which was given to the Indian Navy by Russia 'for free', rest of the money, was to go for the supply of 16 MiG-29K deck-based fighters. The deal was part of the larger package, which included the lease of two Akula-II class nuclear attack submarines and four Tupolev 'Backfire' long-range bombers.
However, the idea of leasing bombers was dropped by the Indian Navy in 2005 after Russia offered them to sell instead of lease, as the creation of a coastal support infrastructure just for four aircraft was found to be not viable.