India's US$3 billion nuclear submarine deal
India has been into many strategic deals with Russia be it in the domain of missiles, avionics or naval submarines amid the CAATSA act. Recently, India has signed a massive deal worth 3 billion dollars with Russia in which India will purchase a nuclear-powered attack submarine with Russia on lease for a time period of 10 years.
Under this agreement, Russia will have to deliver this submarine which will be named as CHAKRA-III, i.e., the upgraded version of CHAKRA submarines to the Indian Navy by 2025.
This submarine will be the third Russian submarine which is to be leased to the Indian Navy. The deal for the Chakra III came days after Indo-Russian joint deal facility to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Army which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh a few days back. Primarily, this deal is going to be like a comprehensive package for the refurbishment of nuclear submarines, its spare parts and the full technical support along with the training crew from Russia in order to train the Indian Naval team.
Fact: It's not that Russia is going to manufacture a brand new submarine for India. The ones which are already operational in the Russian navy will be refurbished, upgraded with modern technology and will be sent to India.
What about CAATSA act?
USA had passed an act i.e., Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act(CAATSA) in which USA had clearly warned that it will impose sanctions on any country which trades with its (USA's) adversaries i.e., Russia, North Korea, Iran. Recently India had made a deal of S400 missiles with Russia. Amid this, the USA hadn't imposed any sanctions on India. Clearly, this was a good sign of Indo-USA relation. But this time may be the USA would not have a second opinion. It depends on the USA in view of the fact that the payment for the submarine has not been done yet. If these relations are healthy, till the submarine arrives India, Then there's a chance that the sanctions won't be imposed. But the way both the countries are building strategic ties, for time being this will happen unlikely.
The Naval Need
The increasing tensions between India and its neighbours have left India in a terrific need to upgrade its defence installations. The Navy had made it clear to the government that it needs 18 conventional submarines (diesel driven), six Nuclear powered submarines (SSNs) and four Nuclear powered Ballistic missile submarines(SSBNs). Where we have only fourteen submarines in which thirteen are the old ones and when it comes to nuclear-powered submarines, we have one INS Chakra which was from Russia for a lease period of 10 years in the year 2011. India has one mini bomber SSBN INS Arihant which was developed indigenously.
What is a Nuclear Powered Submarine?
As the name itself denotes that these submarines are run by nuclear power i.e., it has the capability of generating its energy to function. This is an added advantage since it can sustain in the waters for a long period of time and remains undetected. Whereas, the conventional submarines, return to the port, in order to refuel.
INS Chakra III will be used as a submarine hunter, to protect our waters. The Ballistic missiles cannot be installed in this submarine due to many treaties. Moreover, it can also be deployed for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and reconnaissance) missions due to its stealthy nature and capability to stay underwaters for an extended period.
The recent attacks and increasing tensions must be considered keenly and the government and oppositions must work and let work immensely in order to upgrade our defence installations instead of placing the national security on stake for political matters.