Moscow: The Russian navy will formally commission the Akula-II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine sometime in December before it leasing it to India early next year, a top Russian naval official is quoted as saying in Russian media.
"The submarine has undergone a range of sea trials, and state tests will begin in late October or early November, after which the Nerpa will be commissioned by the Pacific Fleet," the naval spokesman informed Russian agency RIA Novosti.
According to the report, an Indian crew would undergo a course of training together with Russian specialists and servicemen in early 2010 and then sail on their own for Indian shores under supervision of Russian instructors.
The submarine will be commissioned only after training of the Indian crew is completed. The submarine will carry the same name as an earlier Soviet-era Charlie-class nuclear powered submarine leased to India - INS Chakra.
The submarines delivery has been delayed due to an onboard accident in November last year in course of sea trials. An accidental release of lethal Freon gas killed 20 civilian technical staff and crew members.
The ninth session of the annual Indo-Russian Inter-governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) meet concluded just this week with an assurance to Indian defence minister AK Antony from his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov, that Moscow would try to make up for the delay in the submarine's delivery at the earliest.
India and Russia agreed to extend the IRIGC-MTC framework by another ten years and have drawn up a list of 31 new areas for mutual cooperation. Defence co-operation is expected to receive a fillip with Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow for a summit meet with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.