A Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine to be leased to the Indian Navy has begun sea trials.
The submarine, which went on sea trials on June 24, would be leased to the Indian Navy after its formal induction into the Russian Pacific Fleet next year, Vedomosti daily reported on Saturday.
The Amursky Shipyard based in Komsomolsk-on-Amur just across the Chinese border launched the construction of Nerpa nuclear-power submarine (project 971, type Shchuka-B) in 1991.
"The contract concluded with India (around 2004) on completing the construction and leasing of this submarine along with another submarine of the same type also constructed by the Amursky Shipyard to the Indian Navy led to renewal of the construction," the daily writes noting the secret character of the deal.
"Many times Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov has avoided answering the question whether such contract has been concluded with India.
"In India the programme is coded as 'the perspective warship,' its financial implications are also not revealed. According to an official of one of the defence enterprises, India will spend not less than $400 million on completion of the construction of submarines," the daily said.
Indian diplomatic sources were reluctant to comment on the news report.
However, speaking on the condition of anonymity, they pointed that lease of nuclear submarine was part of the Gorshkov package, which included lease of TU-24 (Nato codename Backfire) strategic bombers.
During recent Russia visit the Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt and Naval Chief, Admiral Arun Prakash are understood to have reviewed the n-sub deal.
The Naval Chief had visited the Russian Pacific Fleet Headquarter at Vladivostok, which would be the title-holder of the nuke submarine to be leased to the Indian Navy for 10 years.