India may lease second N- submarine from Russia.
The possibility of leasing a second nuclear submarine was being explored by the two sides for several months now, but several critical issues had cropped up slowing down the talks. Sources said there were operational issues as well as those related to the lease terms which were unresolved.
India operates INS Chakra, a Charlie class guided missile nuclear submarine, which was inducted in April last year. The submarine was leased by Moscow for 10 years at an estimated price of around a billion dollar. The Navy had projected the requirement for a second nuclear submarine which Russia was willing to provide. The move came after India's own programme to develop a nuclear submarine was hit by delays as the reactor on INS Arihant went critical only recently, much behind schedule.
While INS Arihant is being prepared for sea trials, the Navy's dwindling submarine fleet has been a cause of concern. The Navy lost conventional submarine INS Sindhurakshak in an accident at the Mumbai port in August, putting its fleet of diesel- electric powered submarines under stress.
According to a fresh proposal, India can fund construction of Akula class submarine Irbis in Russia. The sources indicated the two sides were unlikely to sign the contract for setting up two new nuclear reactors in the KNPP as a liability clause issue was yet to be resolved.
With Singh scheduled to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, the pact is not expected to be ready in this short period. The two sides have been holding discussions to remove differences over the liability clauses. While Moscow is opposed to setting up of the reactors under India's nuclear civil liability law, New Delhi has offered possible solutions to address its concerns.
After Russia, the Prime Minister will reach Beijing on October 23, the second leg of his crucial two- nation tour. The highlight in Beijing will shift on the proposed border cooperation agreement aimed at preventing stand- offs between the two armies on the unsettled boundary.
Before embarking on the fiveday visit, Singh said he was going to hold talks with Chinese premier Li Keqiang with a " forward looking and problem solving approach". " India and China have historical issues and there are areas of concern. The two governments are addressing them with sincerity and maturity, without letting them affect the overall atmosphere of friendship and cooperation," he said.
GOVT HARDENS STANCE ON PAKISTAN
PAKISTAN is under watch after a series of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control ( LoC) and the international border, top government sources said. Even as Pakistan's PM Nawaz Sharif tried once again to internationalise the Kashmir issue in the US, government sources in Moscow said for forward movement of peace talks, Pakistan has to restore peace along the LoC first.
India, at the highest level, is also assessing if Pakistan is actually serious about restoring peace along the LoC. " The Director Generals of Military Operation of India and Pakistan are constantly in touch and have been tasked to look for ways to restore peace and tranquility along the LoC. Let us give them a chance...," top level government sources said.
The government's initial assessment clearly indicates that the ceasefire violations this year are more serious than before and there is a change in pattern. The sources, however, refused to speculate whether this increase in infiltration and ceasefire violations were happening with clearance from the civilian leadership in Pakistan or was the Army acting out of line. Gaurav C. Sawant/ Moscow
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