Delhi, 13 September 2005
Some months ago we had informed of
media reports in the Russian and Western press that India was to get
two Akula class submarines from Russia on lease and very few Indians
get involved in the negotiations as nuclear submarine matters are
known only to a few and some in the ATV Directorate. Now Fianancial
Express Defence Reporter has made this news public in the Indian
media, though Government has not confirmed it and is unlikely to do
so. The same happened for the INS Chakra. However the report seems
plausible and we wonder how the US Congress will view the deal as it
debates nuclear help to India. President Bush now has problems
convincing his Republican members that his policies towards India
will help USA also. President Bush is beset with Katrina problems
and an IL 76 with Indian aid for New Orleans was due in on 11th
September, though President Bush had stated that financial help
would be preferred. The media report on the Akulas is posted below.
The French media too had reported
via Reuters that the 6 Scorpene submarine contract was concluded and
the original estimate was $3 billion but another Indian Defence
media reported that the price was renegotiated with the French
Armaris and had come down to $1.5 billion. If this is true then this
will put the last Defence Minister and his team of the BJP in poor
light and Indians will know there has been hanky panky or that
defence deals with India have such huge leeway. The Bofors and such
deals proved it.
Any way the CNS had stated the deal
is imminent and will be happy it has been signed during his term.
The media item is tabled. From a drought of submarines, the Indian
Navy of the coming years will have submarines galore if the ATV also
commissions in 2008, and we wishe the Navy's underwater warriors all
Report On Akulas
India is all set to get two Akula
class third generation multipurpose submarines on lease — with the
option to buy them — from Russia by end of this year.
According to sources, the recent
construction of a training centre for the Indian defence officers in
Sosnovy Bor, west of St Petersburg, confirms Russia’s intentions
to lease nuclear submarines to India.
“The international centre will
start training 300 Indian Naval officers by mid-September,”
officials said. This constitutes 4 Akula crews.
This centre also trains Russian
Naval officers and houses working nuclear reactors of the type found
on nuclear submarines. These reactors are used to test nuclear fuel
and other technologies applicable to nuclear submarine reactors.
While defence ministry is
tight-lipped about the training of naval submariners, experts at
PIR-Centre, Moscow, told FE, “It is quite possible that the centre
will be training Indian experts and navy officers in the field not
only from the point of view of official leasing of submarines with
nuclear reactors, but also from the point of developing such a
submarine by Indians themselves.”
Sources said such training in
Sosnovy Bor was a testament to the notion that Russia has not given
up on its plans of leasing nuclear submarines.
It may be recalled that defence
minister Pranab Mukherjee had said that negotiations about obtaining
a Russian nuclear submarine were underway.
The two Akulas, one 70-85% complete
and the other 40-60% complete, will cost India some $400m. The
leasing costs would amount to some $25m a year. The construction of
both submarines and training of the crews could run, according to
experts, to around $2 billion.
Reuters Report in Indian Media
India has ordered six submarines
developed by a group of French and Spanish companies in a deal worth
2.4 billion euros ($3.01 billion), newspaper La Tribune reported on
its web site on Tuesday.
The order for Scorpene submarines
will generate revenue of 1.2 billion euros for Armaris, a unit of
French shipbuilder DCN and defence electronics group Thales, the
Officials at Thales were not
immediately available for comment, but a DCN spokeswoman cautioned,
"The Indian government had not notified Armaris of its
The vessels are being developed in
cooperation with Izar of Spain.
Hindustan Times on Scorpene
Submarines and Nuclear Supplies
French Nuclear Kiss
Paris, September 12, 2005
India and France on Monday jointly
announced the broad contours of an arrangement that will result in
the resumption of French nuclear supplies to India.
The deal, similar to the one agreed
to by India and the US and India and the UK, was hinted at in the
Joint Statement issued by Manmohan Singh and Jacques Chirac. The
language of the statement is deliberately vague: “France
acknowledges the need for full international civilian nuclear
cooperation with India and will work towards this objective.” But
official sources said that both sides had agreed to a resumption of
Manmohan Singh met President Chirac
for an hour and a half at the Elysee Palace before both men went in
for an official lunch. The two had met recently at Gleneagles during
the G8 conference and the discussions were friendly, a sign of
France’s stated desire to improve relations with India.
Chirac has just recovered from a
stroke and Dr Singh was the first foreign visitor he met after his
illness. Welcoming the Prime Minister, Chirac spoke of his happiness
at India’s decision to buy 43 Airbus aircraft and six Scorpene
The price of the submarines has
been the subject of some dispute, with the Indians asking the French
to waive the cost escalation clause. But nobody is willing to
officially state what came of the financial negotiations. At a press
briefing addressed by the Foreign Secretary, but attended by half
the PMO and nearly everybody else who wanted to appear on TV, there
was a firm refusal to divulge any figures.
Chirac restated France’s support
for India’s bid for a permanent Security Council seat and accepted
Manmohan Singh’s invitation to visit India, along with a French
business delegation, on February 20, 2006.
For his part, Manmohan Singh, who
met French CEOs separately, restated his view that India's
liberalisation process was irreversible and said: "I am here to
convince the French businessmen community that India is going to be
a competitive destination for foreign investment."
explained France's proposal for a new global tax on all
international travel, the proceeds of which would be used to fight
HIV/AIDS. Dr Singh promised him that India would go along with this
Dr Singh is scheduled to meet
French intellectuals on Tuesday before flying on to New York for the
UN General Assembly.