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The Russian-made Sindhurakshak submarine, which was in service with the Indian Navy, sank at Mumbai port overnight to Wednesday as a result of a fire outbreak. The entire sub’s crew - 18 navy men, were killed in the fire. Experts do not rule out that unfavorable press comments about Russian arms manufacturers may appear as a result of this incident.
It is known that shortly before the accident, the Sindhurakshak submarine underwent repairs and modernization at the Zvyozdochka shipyard, writes the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. The enterprise emphasizes that before the departure for India, the Sea Giant (as the sub’s name is translated) passed all the required tests. “The checks were completed this January,” the Severodvinsk-base shipyard told the newspaper. “At all the stages - mooring, navigation and state tests - the Indian crew participated in them. Indians submariners are among the most demanding customers that can be imagined. There was some criticism expressed by them and there were minor drawbacks, but they were removed. That is why the tests dragged on for six months. After that, the submarine made a three-month self-propelled voyage to India, sailing through several seas and oceans.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the country’s military-industrial complex, told the Kommersant daily that there were no objections to the submarine’s quality and the sub was getting ready for the next sea voyage. The probable cause of the incident, in the view of Rogozin, could be detonation of the onboard torpedo ammunition.
The sunken submarine was laid down in St. Petersburg at one of the oldest Russian shipbuilding companies - Admiralty Shipyards, the Novye Izvestia newspaper writes. The Indian Navy placed an order for the Varshavyanka class submarine in 1995, and in 1997 it was launched. Diesel-electric submarines of the Varshavyanka project are regarded as the most reliable and trouble-free in the class. Not a single accident has been recorded over the entire period of operation of these submarines, built in Admiralty Shipyards. Director of the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade Igor Korotchenko believes that the most likely cause of the accident was violation of the safety or operation rules by the crew or a terrorist attack.
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta wonders how the Mumbai accident will affect Russia’s military-technical cooperation with India. In an interview with the newspaper Professor of MGIMO University Sergey Lunev said that the accident will not “strongly” affect the cooperation. Anti-Russian articles may appear in the press. There is nothing new here. The French fund these publications. Then the wave will subside. The problem is that accidents often happen trough the Indian side’s fault. India sometimes uses counterfeit spare parts. Certainly, India is diversifying purchases of military equipment. It concludes contracts with France, Israel, the United States. The share of Russia's orders is shrinking. Previously, it was about 75 percent of India’s imports, and now - 40 to 45 percent.” But in absolute terms, the volume of Russian orders is not decreasing. It may even slightly increase.