India recently inducted a leased Russian Akula-class nuclear submarine into its naval fleet, rechristening it Indian Navy Ship (INS) Chakra. This will be the Indian navy’s second such stint with a submersible nuclear vessel: In 1987, India leased a Charlie-class nuclear submarine for three years from the Soviet Union.
The INS Chakra, known in the Russian navy as the K-152 Nerpa, was initially conceived in the early 1990s under Russia’s Project 971 M Shchuka-B class nuclear-powered submarine program. Though the keel of the submarine was laid in 1993, the project was delayed due to Russia’s economic hardships after the Cold War. In 2004, Russia agreed to lease the submarine to India for 10 years at a cost of $920 million.