Indian defense sources have refuted Russian media claims that the US Navy delegates were let onboard Russian-origin nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra in service with the Indian Navy since 2012.
According to a report by The Times of India, sources were quoted as saying that there was "no question" of letting US officials or "anyone else" near INS Chakra, the Akula-II class submarine inducted by the Indian Navy in April 2012, in violation of the terms of an agreement inked with Russia. "This is a disinformation campaign being carried out by some vested interests," said a source.
Russian news portal Kommersant claimed on Thursday that the Indian Navy had permitted a US technical crew to inspect INS Chakra, stating the "unprecedented scandal" broke out. The Russian report further said the specialized Russian structures are preparing countermeasures against their Indian partner.
The news surfaced at a time when New Delhi is finalising talks with Moscow to acquire another nuclear-powered submarine on lease for over $1.5 billion.
However, the TNN report did mention that a 13-member US delegation headed by Rear Admiral Brian Antonio, which came to India for a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Co-operation from October 29 to November 3, did, however, board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya for a four-hour brief on Indian aircraft carrier operations on the high seas.
"The two cases are very different. INS Vikramaditya is owned by India. INS Chakra, in turn, is only being operated by the Indian Navy on lease from Russia. Moreover, nuclear submarines and their operations are kept secret," the source added.
INS Chakra is currently undergoing repairs at its base at Visakhapatnam after there was some damage to the tiles covering the submarine's sonar dome.