An Indian military delegation has arrived in St. Petersburg to discuss military-technical collaboration in submarine-building, a Russian defense industry source told RIA on Thursday, days after a Russian-made sub in India’s navy exploded.
“It is a routine meeting of a joint [Russian-Indian] working group that had been scheduled long before the explosion on the INS Sindhurakshak,” the source said on condition of anonymity. “The Indian delegation is headed by the Indian navy’s chief of materiel, Vice Admiral Nadella Niranjan Kumar.”
The Sindhurakshak, one of 10 Russian-built Kilo-class submarines in service with the Indian navy, blew up and sank at its moorings in the port of Mumbai last week, killing 18 crewmembers.
The boat had been recently refitted in Russia and returned to service in January. Russia has offered to send a team of experts to assist India in the investigation of the accident.
According to the source, the agenda of the talks included the possibility of a second round of upgrading for India’s Kilo-class (Project 877 EKM) diesel-electric submarines, as well as Russian participation in the Indian tender for six new diesel-electric subs and other issues aimed at boosting the development of India’s submarine fleet.
The discussion of the recent accident with Sindhurakshak may also be on the agenda, the source added.
Meanwhile, several Indian media outlets have speculated that the Indian navy may lease additional Kilo-class subs from Russia to maintain combat readiness of its submarine fleet.