For three years, India leased the Russian Charlie-I class submarine (K-43), the first and only such transaction between two countries. Today India is working with the development of the nuclear-powered attack submarine program, based on the Russian Charlie-I class design. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the PWR reactor will use 20% enriched uranium, the same as the 2. generation Russian submarines.
Russian and Indian navy technicians were working in close co-operation during the three years K-43 was based in India. Following the submarines return in 1991, India had planned to acquire four to six nuclear-powered submarines, but the disintegration of the Soviet Union put an end to those plans. Officially the co-operation is halted today, since it would violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty. India recently tested five nuclear bombs.
The first Indian nuclear powered submarine will be laid by 2001/2, two years after the completion of the land tests on its reactor. This will be followed by its launch around 2006/7 and commissioning a year later. This makes India the world’s sixth country to operate nuclear powered submarines, after United Kingdom, China, France, USA and Russia.