Russian authorities have demanded over $20 million for rectifying the damage suffered by nuclear submarine INS Chakra , which was dry-docked last week, even as the government is seeking to fix responsibility for the mishap.
According to defence sources, Russia has quoted $20 million (approximately Rs. 125 crore) for fixing the front portion, which was damaged while the submarine was entering the harbour in Visakhapatnam. The accident details emerged in public in early October last year.
The developments around INS Chakra come even as the indigenously built nuclear ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant, which had suffered extensive damage because of human error over a year ago, is yet to be back to active sailing.
Arihant still to sail
After extensive flushing and replacement of many of its pipes, Arihant was floated recently but sailing it will take more time, the defence sources said.
On INS Chakra , Russian officials have conveyed to India that they would be making all the replacement panels in their own facility, and would not be using any Indian facilities. The almost 5×5 ft. panels of the sonar dome would be brought to Visakhapatnam and fitted on to the leased submarine.
In an interview to The Hindu last week, Russian Ambassador Nikolai Kudashev said he wasn’t aware when the nuclear-powered submarine would sail again.
“As far as I know the submarine is under repairs as of now but in the near future it is expected to be back in operation. There is nothing irreversible that happened there. That is what I am aware of,” the Russian Ambassador said.
The Defence Ministry did not respond to queries from The Hindu .
Posting put on hold
Meanwhile, government sources indicate that they want responsibility fixed for the damage suffered by INS Chakra .
As part of the firm stand taken by the government, it is believed to have put on hold the proposal to appoint Inspector General of Nuclear Safety Vice Admiral Srikant as the new Commandant of the New Delhi-based National Defence College (NDC), until responsibility is fixed for the Chakra mishap.
Vice Admiral Srikant is the senior most naval officer responsible for nuclear submarines. Lt. Gen. YVK Mohan moved out as NDC commandant early in January to take over as the General Officer Commanding IX Corps headquartered at Yol in Himachal Pradesh.
Denying any specific knowledge of the Ministry’s move, Navy officials admitted that a series of appointments in the Navy are currently waiting to be cleared by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Vice Admiral Srikant’s is also among them.