INS Chakra III: Indian Naval Submarine

By Naveen Singh|Updated : March 17th, 2019

India is surrounded by water from three sides. Difficult neighbors and looming threat from terror outfits are a major concern for the country. In order to stand up against them, we must have a well equipped naval forces.

The predominant maritime power in the Indian Ocean, the Indian Navy is structured proportionately with its capability to project power, deploy in distant waters with the imperative hardware to assist operations and effectively dominate the environment in the area for the desired period. Submarines, with their universality, lend themselves ideally to this.

INS Chakra III: Indian Naval Submarine

The Current Scenario

The Indian Navy is the 4th largest naval power in the world. In recent years, the Indian naval dominance in the ocean is being by China as it is constantly creating artificial islands as well as investing in infrastructural investments in and around the Indian Ocean Region. The seaports in strategic places like Djibouti, Gwadar, Hambantota, and Kyaukpyu etc are China's long thought strategy called "string of pearls" by which it wants to increase its military influence in the region.


To counter this, India is also investing in developing infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Myanmar etc., signing logistic treaties with the USA (LEMOA), France and Japan etc. But the major focus of India lies in improving its military arsenal. 

Why Submarines?

Submarines represent the cutting edge of a navy’s offensive capability and are therefore an integral element of a maritime nation’s security setup.

The flexibility of the platform gives it the freedom to operate across the entire spectrum of conflict from the strategic to the sub-conventional.

Classification of Submarines

Submarines can be classified into the following three types –

  • The Ballistic missile armed nuclear submarine (SSBN), most credible platform for strategic deterrence,
  • The Nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN)
  • The Diesel-electric submarine (SSK) or (Scorpene Class Submarine)

India is the sixth country in the world which operates nuclear submarines (SSBNs and SSNs), the others being the five permanent members of the Security Council – USA, Russia, UK, France and China. While the SSBN is the most credible platform for strategic deterrence and effective second strike and the SSK ideally suited for littoral operations in a limited tactical scenario, it is the SSN which perfectly complements a carrier-centric expeditionary force structure due to the following reason:-

(a) High speeds underwater in excess of 25 knots
(b) Agile manoeuvrability,
(c) Unlimited endurance due to nuclear propulsion
(d) Lethal firepower including land attack cruise missiles and heavyweight torpedoes.
(e) Ability to shape the maritime battle-space

INS Chakra III

In 2012, an Akula-2 class submarine was leased for a period of 10 years. It is also called INS Chakra and will be in the Indian Navy till 2022. The two countries are also working to extend the lease of the Chakra II

In 2018, following the visit of the naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, a high-level delegation from the Indian Navy had visited Russia for inspecting two Akula-2 class SSNs - Bratesk and Samara.

The two countries signed an inter-governmental agreement capping months of negotiations on price and various other aspects of the deal.

On 07 March 2019, India signed a contract with Russia to lease an Akula-2 class nuclear attack submarine for a period of 10 years commencing from 2025. It will be designated as Chakra III.

 It is understood that the submarine being leased to India will be modified with an indigenous mix of equipment in its communication and sensor suite before it is handed over to the Indian Navy.


Which is Better Purchasing or Leasing?

Basis for Comparison




It refers to buying the asset by paying the price of it.

Leasing is an arrangement wherein the owner of the asset permits another person to use the asset, for recurring payments.


Cost of owning the asset

Cost of using the asset


Buyer has the right to transfer or sell the asset

Lessee has no right to transfer or sell the asset to any other party.


Can be paid in lump sum or in equated monthly installment for a fixed period.

Can be paid through lease rentals.


The economic life of an asset

Specified terms

Ownership Options

Once all the dues are cleared, the asset belongs to the buyer only.

At the end of the term, the lessee has two option, either to purchase the asset or return it.

Repairs and Maintenance

The responsibility of the buyer

Depends on the lease type.


The significance of submarines to national security cannot be underrated.  They supply the conclusive edge at every level, be it strategic, operational or tactical. Submarines raise the modern navies credibility and nations which neglect the phased growth and modernisation of this vital capability do so at their own peril.

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