India has reportedly signed a $3.3 billion deal with Russia for leasing a nuclear-powered attack submarine on Thursday.
According to The Economic Times, the Akula class attack submarine will be known as Chakra III and is expected to be delivered to the Indian navy by 2025 after the two countries signed the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) in New Delhi. The Chakra III will replace the current Chakra II.
India had earlier taken two more submarines from Russia on a lease. The first nuclear-powered submarine from Russia, INS Chakra, was leased in 1988. A second INS Chakra was taken on lease in 2012 for a period of 10 years. The lease of Chakra II is set to expire in 2022. However, India is set to extend the lease for five more years to have sufficient time for Chakra III to be delivered.
The deal for the Chakra III comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Indo-Russian joint production facility to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Army in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. In October, India had also signed a multi-billion dollar deal with Russia to procure a batch of S-400 air defence missile system.
This deal comes in the backdrop of the recent tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack. The terror attack was carried out by Pak-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), whose chief has been living in Pakistan and enjoys the support of its establishment.
India has one of the most powerful navies in the world. Compared to that the Pakistani Navy is very weak. Indian Navy has 16 submarines including 1 nuclear-powered attack submarine, 1 aircraft carrier, 1 amphibious transport. In addition to that, the country has 14 destroyers, 13 frigates, 106 patrol and coastal combatant vessels, and 75 combat capable aircraft. On the other hand, the Pakistani Navy has just 9 frigates, 8 submarines, 17 patrol and coastal vessels, and 8 combat capable aircraft.
Given the naval superiority of India, the country could opt for a naval blockade to weaken Pakistan in case of a war-like situation. Pakistan does not have the capability to stop the Indian Navy from blocking its supplies.
India has a far superior military as compared to neighbouring Pakistan. As per the Global Firepower Index, India’s military is the fourth strongest in the world after the US, Russia and China, while Pakistan ranks seventeenth in the list. Pakistan managed to break in the top fifteen only in 2017 while India has been in the top five since long. Major European military powers such as France, the UK, and Germany trail India while Japan also ranks below India in terms of defense capabilities.
India has 12 lakh strong Army 3,565 battle tanks, 3,100 infantry fighting vehicles, 336 armored personnel carriers and 9,719 pieces of artillery, as per International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Pakistan, on the other hand, has only 560,000 troops backed by 2,496 tanks, 1,605 armored personnel carriers, and 4,472 artillery guns, including 375 self-propelled howitzers, according to IISS. Pakistan Air Force and Navy have no match against the Indian side as Indian Air Force and Indian Navy are considered among the best in the world.
This deal between India and Russia is also significant in the backdrop of the threat of US sanctions following the S-400 deal.