Military-Grade Awesome

Soviet-Indian Nuclear Proliferation


The K-43 was a Soviet Charlie-class nuclear missile sub launched in 1966. It served the Soviet navy well, but would soon go on a journey of national intrigue.

In October 1986, the Soviet Politburo decided they wanted to lease one of their nuclear missile subs to the Indian navy for “training purposes”. Despite warnings from navy and political advisers against such a move, Gorbechev said that the political benefits outweighed any drawbacks. So, a new submarine base was built at Vishakapatnam, India and an Indian navy crew was sent to the Soviet Union to train on the submarine and its systems. Then, on January 5, 1988 the submarine left Vladivostok en route to the Indian sub-continent. That day it was commissioned into the Indian navy and renamed the INS Chakra.

At the same time, a P-3 Orion from the US Navy was tracking the comings and goings at the Vladivostok naval base. When they saw the old Charlie-class sub leaving, they followed their standard protocol and tracked it. US and Australian P-3s followed the Chakra for its entire journey. Thus, it was no secret to the Americans that their cold war foes were making nice with the Indians. Something I’m sure that came up at dinner parties all across Washington. It also prompted the Washington Post to call India an emerging “oriental bully”.

Reportedly, the Chakra was partially manned by a Soviet crew while in Indian service. The crew would not allow Indian sailors into the missile room or engine room. When the lease ended 3 years later, this allegation was attributed as the collapse of this Indo-Soviet cooperation exercise.

Why does this matter? Well, there’s a new INS Chakra sailing below the ocean’s surface. This one built by Russia as an Akula-class submarine, but funded and leased by India. The Indian navy took control last year. It seems that history repeats itself.

  • cruisintime

    This thing will get out of hand and we will be lucky to live through it.

    • dr_ryan

      Russians don't take a dump without a plan, son.

      One of the greatest movies, ever.

      • cruisintime

        One Ping only Please!

  • BlackIce_GTS

    Akula is the NATO code* for Shchuka (Pike), which is the thing they're leasing to India. They are probably okay? Specifically this one is an Akula III, except Russia doesn't name the generations they're all just Shchuka.
    Typhoon is the NATO code for Akula (Shark), which is ridiculous and awesome:
    <img src="; width=500>
    <img src=""&gt;
    You can see how this produced brief confused elation.
    When the plans were submitted for approval, Brezhnev was flabbergasted by the scale of it, he asked "What is this for?" The admiral boasted that it was a mobile missile base that could be hidden underwater. Brezhnev replied "Can it fit there?"

    * "NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment of the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact) and China. They provide unambiguous and easily understood English language words in a uniform manner in place of the original designations — which may have been unknown (to the West) at the time or easily confused codes."

    **I just made that story up.

  • The word Chakra "derives from the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or "turning", but in yogic context a better translation of the word is 'vortex or whirlpool'." according to wikipikidikia

    According to the urban dictionary, this is one of three classes of subs operated by the Indian Navy, the other two being The Teaser and The Pleaser.

  • The Russian also sold the Indians a Kiev class Cruiser/Carrier that the Indians have converted to a full on jet carrier, carrying fewer cruise missiles, but 16 Mig-29K fighters.
    <img src=""width=500&gt;

    This actually revived the shipborne variant of the Mig-29.

  • Speaking of the Russian navy, I just found this: [youtube Bgn7n3OPAqE youtube]

    Either several hundred people wandered into a military exercise zone or the Russian Navy was lost or just doesn't care.

    • That's crazy! Though, by the lack of people scattering I'd say there's a channel or something they are heading for. Or, Russian beachgoer's are just crazy.

    • dr_ryan

      In Soviet Russia, hovercraft drives you!

  • Tania

    The two most vocal arms dealers talk about arms control and non proliferations. The world and they themselves kept their eyes closed when they are violating the norms of arms control. Russia and India are renouned for their cooperation on arsenals. India which is also the US benefiary, gathered benefits from Russia at the same times. Must say its a kind of magical charm of India which made the world especially US to keep mouth and eyes shut.

  • Aneel Kumar

    Rightly said but instead of Russia, India is doing nuclear proliferation and that is not in the favour of global security. India is impoerting advance arms technology but have no trained man power to handle it.