Russia’s major daily Kommersant reported this week the Russian military suspects that India has allowed a team of US Navy specialists to inspect the top-secret compartments of the Akula-class nuclear submarine that has been on lease from Russia to the Indian navy since 2011.
Needles to say this would be an egregious violation of the lease agreement.
Reportedly as a result the Russians are delaying making repairs to the ship after its sonar dome was damaged while at sea this August.
Clearly if true an incident like this could deal enormous damage to the extensive Russian-Indian defense ties.
Since the nationalist Modi has taken over from the socialists in India in 2014 the country has been looking towards the US more, but even the more pro-American Modi must understand India’s defense ties to Russia are of great benefit to Russia, and India alike. Would he really put them at risk in such a foolish way?
Maye not, the Russian news portal News.ru reports, and the Indian media echoes, an account in which the story of Americans being given freedom of the leased Akula was given to the Kommersant by a lobbyist for the French defense industry which has an obvious interest in Russian-Indian defense ties.
Specifically the Indians were interested in leasing an another nuclear submarine and the French have an interest in scuttling the deal, and then jump in with an offer to lease out a submarine of their own.
On the other hand, Kommersant is a major nationally-distributed Russian paper, while News.ru is a very tiny (60,000 monthly clicks) internet news portal. Who to believe? I don’t know, but the Indian media has definitely decided to go with News.ru.
A number of giants of the Indian media landscape (NDTV 200 million monthly clicks, Times of India 80 million monthly clicks, Rediff 50 million monthly clicks) have reported on the story by the tiny Russian portal.
Needless to say official New Delhi vehemently denies allowing Americans anywhere near their prized Russian-owned nuclear submarine.