India will discuss the military-technical collaboration in submarine-building with Russia during an Indian military official’s current visit to St. Petersburg.
“It is a routine meeting of a joint [Russian-Indian] working group that had been scheduled long before the explosion on the INS Sindhurakshak,” a Russian official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. "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.
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, a Russian official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
The discussion of the recent accident with Sindhurakshak may also be on the agenda, the official 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.