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INS Chakra commissioned to Indian Navy

ussian nuclear submarine, Nerpa, re-christened INS Chakra, has been commissioned on Monday and handed over to the Indian Navy. The commissioning and handing over ceremony took place in the Russian town, Bolshoy Kamen (Big Stone), of Primorsky region.

The Indian Ambassador in Russia, Ajay Malhotra, and dignitaries from the Russian Navy and shipbuilding companies attended the ceremony of raising the Indian Navy flag. Roman Trotsenko, Head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, and Admiral Konstantin Sidenko, Commander Eastern Military District, were among those who attended the ceremony. The first Indian Commanding Officer of the submarine is Captain Ashokan.

The submarine is for a 10-year lease and is worth more than one billion US dollars. The submarine was originally scheduled to join the Indian Navy in 2008, but is delayed by four years. Chakra is different from the indigenously made INS Arihant in configuration.

While Chakra is a tactical weapon platform, Arihant has a strategic role. INS Chakra is an Akula II-class attack submarine, and she completed her sea trials last month. Chakra has a displacement of 8,140 tonnes and a maximum speed of 30 knots, and the K-152 submarine is armed with four 533mm torpedo tubes and four 650mm torpedo tubes.

This makes India the sixth operator of nuclear submarines in the world. Other nuclear underwater operators are US, Russia, China, the UK and France.

In what has been considered one of the Russian Navy's worst accidents, the Chakra had a fire accident onboard in 2008, in which 20 people, mostly civilians, died when a fire-suppressant gas was released during shakedown trials. Refitting the vessel delayed the commissioning.

India had earlier leased a Russian Charlie Class nuclear submarine from 1988-1991.

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