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Russia to hand over Nerpa nuclear sub to India in March 2011

RIA Novosti

13:38 01/10/2010 KHABAROVSK, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will transfer the K-152 Nerpa attack submarine to India on a 10-year lease in March 2011, the governor of the Far East Khabarovsk region said on Friday.

Twenty sailors and technical workers were killed onboard the submarine shortly after the start of sea trials in November 2008, due to a toxic gas leak when the automatic fire extinguishing system malfunctioned. The boat is now fully operational following repairs.

"The boat has been handed over [to the fleet] now. According to the agreement, it will be transferred to India in March of the next year," Vyacheslav Shport told journalists.

The $900-million lease contract was drawn up after Moscow and New Delhi sealed a deal in January 2004, in which India agreed to fund part of the Nerpa's construction.

The Nerpa was originally scheduled to be introduced into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra by mid-2008.

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