NEW DELHI, Jan. 5,Reuter: The Soviet Union handed over a nuclear powered submarine to India on Tuesday in a lease agreement that could affect the Maritime balance of power in South Asia, the official all India Radio said.

The radio said the submarine was turned over to T.N. Kaul, Indian Ambassador to Moscow, at the Soviet Far Eastern Port of Vladivostok. The vessel was expected to sail for India within the next few days, the radio said.

India thus became only the second Asian nation after China with nuclear powered warships in its fleet. The new submarine, and other recent acquisitions, would allow India to project its naval influence far into the strategic Indian Ocean.

In New Delhi, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman declined any comment on the transfer which has been the subject of speculation in the Indian Press cover the past few months.

Indian state television said the submarine was handed over to India for training purposes only and carried no nuclear weapons. The broadcasts did not specify what type of vessel was turned over to India.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 8, 1988