Indian delegation flies to Russia, demands assistance in salvaging sunken submarine

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when the Indian delegation arrives at the Admiralty Shipyard?

The Russians have already insisted that the explosion could not possibly be their fault, because we all know how reliable Russian technology is… right? So telling the Indians to their face that clearly they’re to blame should be interesting.

India wants Russia to help raise sunken submarine

Photo: EPA

Indian and Russian officials are discussing options for raising Russian-built Indian diesel-electric submarine Sindhurakshak, which caught fire after a series of explosions on board and sank off Mumbai on August 14, killing all its crew of 18, said a source close to Russia’s shipbuilding industry.

There remain unexploded torpedoes on board, which is an obstacle to raising Sindhurakshak, the source said.

Indian Navy officials have asked for technological and physical help in bringing up the submarine from the seafloor but neither the Russian government nor any Russian firm has received any official request for this from India.

United Shipbuilding Corporation declined to comment, while a spokesman for Admiralty Shipyard, which built Sindhurakshak, said that an Indian delegation was due to visit the shipyard on Friday but did not disclose what would be discussed during the visit.

One explanation of the Mumbai accident that has been offered is that the first explosion was caused by high concentration of hydrogen in an accumulator in the head compartment, which is next to the torpedo unit.

India received Project 877EKM Sindhurakshak in 1997.

A fire on board the vessel in 2010 that was caused by a hydrogen explosion killed one of the sailors.

The submarine was repaired and modernized at Russia’s Zvyozdochka shipyard in 2010-2012.

Russian experts still denied access to sunken Indian sub

A group of Russian experts from the Zvyozdochka ship repair center have not been allowed to visit the site of India’s sunken Sindhurakshak submarine in Mumbai, Zvyozdochka’s official spokeswoman Nadezhda Shcherbinina confirmed to the Voice of Russia.

“They may not be allowed to visit in principle,” she said.

“This is a prerogative of the country that owns the ship. We have contacted our warrantee group in Mumbai. They remain at their hotel. They have not been invited, so to say. They may be or may not be invited to participate.”

Earlier, Russian media reported, citing an unnamed source, that the Russian experts had been granted access to the sunken submarine.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_23/India-wants-Russia-to-help-raise-sunken-submarine-source-2775/

Faulty Russian technology to blame for Indian submarine disaster? Not according to Russia.

Voice of Russia dismisses theory that Indian submarine disaster has anything whatsoever to do with Russian technology. Nope. Must be human error by Indians. Couldn’t possibly be faulty Russian technology.

Three reasons behind Indian submarine disaster

India has ordered a review of its submarines’ weapons safety systems, after initial investigations showed arms on board the INS Sindhurakshak may have played a role in its sinking. The Voice of Russia has reviewed three possible reasons that led to an explosion on board Indian submarine in Mumbai dockyard on August 14.

First version – sabotage or terrorist attack

The INS Sindhurakshak exploded and sank in the Mumbai port on August 14, on the eve of India’s Independence Day. Most likely, this circumstance stirred a discussion about a possible terrorist attack. Theoretically, extremists might have planned to carry out a “demonstrative subversive act” ahead of the national holiday. However, at the very begging of the investigation into the accident in Mumbai port, the Indian authorities and the majority of local experts dismissed such a version saying that the port and the submarine were guarded around the clock, and a well-organized plot was needed to commit the sabotage.

Second version – technical failure and defect in design

The INS Sindhurakshak was built at the Admiralteiskue Shipyard in St. Petersburg in 1995, and two years later, it was handed over to the customer. In the late 2012, it underwent planned repair and was upgraded at the base of the Zvezdochka Shipbuilding Centre in Severodvinsk which is specialized in repairing the 877 Project submarines. After Indian organization accepted the submarine, it sailed some 10,000 nautical miles and reached the Mumbai port. It has been on combat duty twice. According to Indian media, the night before the accident, Sindhurakshak ended preparations for another outward bound. According to an official at the Zvezdochka Shipbuilding Centre, the specialists of the guarantee group visited the submarine on the eve of the accident, and all systems under their control were completely operable.

In short, from the experts’ point of view, technical or design defect cannot be examined as an apparent reason that led to the accident.

Third version – human factor: violation of safety standards and engineering instructions

A. As part of this version, experts are discussing first and foremost possible violations by the crew during the recharging of the submarine’s accumulators.

Hydrogen emits during the charging and exploitation of batteries, and when its concentration increases, an extremely explosive mixture is formed in the air. In this case, submarine is equipped with a hydrogen burner that is aimed at neutralizing a possible threat of an explosion.

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, retired Commodore Parambir Singh Bawa pointed to the possibility of exploding hydrogen. Several Indian dailies said that there were three explosions on board the submarine: originally, a small blast and then two powerful blasts occurred on board the submarine causing a fire. Then the submarine sank. It was suggested that originally, hydrogen exploded, and then ammunition might have exploded.

However, some experts dismiss possible explosion of hydrogen and diesel fume.

B. According to several Indian dailies, short circuit triggered by a sailor’s mistake might have caused the explosion on board the submarine.

C. Addressing the parliament Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that preliminary investigations had indicated that blasts on INS Sindhurakshak submarine were caused by “possible ignition” of armament.

The cause of ignition, has not established yet.

The Indian Defence Minister said that this would be possible only after the partially submerged submarine is afloat and dewatered.

At present, the Defence Ministry has ordered to check security systems of all submarines of the Indian Navy.

According to several local experts, if a warhead had really exploded on board the submarine, then the submarine’s forward end was completely destroyed because a warhead of a Club anti-ship missile contains 400 kilograms of powerful explosive. Most likely, the entire hull is destroyed, and it will not be expedient to repair the submarine.


http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_20/Three-reasons-behind-Indian-submarine-disaster-0377/

Assessing the terrorist threat against the Sochi Olympics

When the IOC announced that Russia had bribed its way to a “successful” Olympic bid er… been awarded the privilege of hosting the 2014 Summer Olympics at Sochi, I thought to myself, “Oh dear. That’s rather close to the Caucasian hornet’s nest. I do hope the Russian authorities take all the necessary precautions.”

Sochi lays on the Black Sea, domain of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet. Given the low-outlay, high-impact of a USS Cole style attack or a Mumbai type attack it should be hoped that the Russian military have a strong… very strong… presence at Sochi.

Assessing the terrorist threat against Sochi

© RIA Novosti. Mihail Mokrushin

Throughout Russia, clocks are counting down to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The importance of the event, to both government and country, is hard to overstate. President Vladimir Putin has vested much of his personal credibility in the games, as well as the economic future of Southern Russia.

Costs are estimated to run to $33.5 billion, making the Sochi Games the most expensive Olympics in history. Thirteen massive new facilities, plus a Formula One track, are currently under construction. The investment in infrastructure is no less impressive, with roads, railways and an airport terminal being constructed to service the games.

Security is one of the key talking points of the Sochi games, of course. On July 3, Doku Umarov, leader of the separatist organization the Caucasus Emirate released a video stating that the 2014 games would be “prevented.”

Umarov had previously claimed responsibility for the 2011 terror attack on Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, the 2010 bombing of the Moscow metro, and the 2009 bombing of the Nevsky Express.

In the video, Umarov not only called on all Muslims within the region to use “maximum force” against the Sochi Games, but also signaled an end to the 2012 moratorium against attacks on Russian civilian targets. The moratorium, Umarov claimed, had been a gesture of solidarity with Russian opposition protesters.

The excuse they needed?

“The Olympics are really the world’s games” Frank Cilluffo, former White House special assistant to the president for homeland security and an associate vice president at George Washington University, told The Moscow News. “Everyone will be watching. Hosting the Games is therefore a point of genuine national pride.”

The Olympics are also an opportunity to cause the host state harm – and the Sochi Games may be no exception. “Looking to the Games in Sochi, you combine a symbolic target with the long history of bloody violence in the nearby North Caucasus, and you have a potentially toxic and explosive mix,” Cilluffo said.

This year’s muted opposition rallies in Russia may also have given Caucasus Emirate leaders the excuse they needed to terrorize civilians again.

“The moratorium was introduced at the time when public protests against Russian authorities were widespread,” Valery Dzutsev, North Caucasus analyst at American think tank the Jamestown Foundation, told The Moscow News. “By the summer [of] 2013, the situation… does not seem to be nearly as threatening to the Kremlin as it [once] was. So the insurgents may have decided that the initial rationale for implementing the moratorium did not exist anymore.”

Threat debated

“How much of a threat the group may pose outside of the Caucasus themselves is unclear,” Matthew Henman, senior analyst at Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center, told The Moscow News. “The Caucasus Emirate has been coming under a lot of security forces pressure over the past few years [as Sochi approaches], and it isn’t at all clear whether the group, or elements within the group, retain the ability to carry out decisive operations beyond the North Caucasus.”

“This is somewhat less of an issue in terms of Sochi, given its relative proximity to the North Caucasus, but the high level of security surrounding the Winter Olympics may make carrying out a successful attack a very challenging proposition for the group,” Henman added.

The authorities respond

The Russian Anti-Terrorist Committee’s response to Umarov’s statement was brief and unyielding. “All of Russia’s state institutions, special services and law enforcement bodies are constantly implementing a set of measures aimed at providing security for Russian citizens,” its official statement read.

The response from Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen republic and close Kremlin ally, was more emotional. ” [Umarov] is Satan,” Kadyrov told journalists. “I am certain that we will eliminate him before the Olympics.”

Yet according to Dzutsev, Kadyrov may be overstating his ability to go after Umarov. “The Olympics in Sochi are Putin’s labor of love, and when Umarov abuses that… even verbally, Kadyrov understandably becomes very upset,” he said. “But he cannot do much more.”

According to Henman, killing Umarov may not necessarily make the Caucasus Emirate organization go away. “As such, even were Umarov to be killed, then a successor would be appointed and the group would continue as before,” he said. “Each of the jamaats [assemblies] has suffered the loss of multiple emirs over the past six or seven years, and these deaths rarely entail a loss of capability or intent.”

It can be said that there is a bitter irony in that a spectacle designed to celebrate humanity at its best should now attract the attention of humanity at its very worst. Worse yet, according to the experts, the threat of terror from the North Caucasus will persist long after the Sochi Games are done.

“The federal and respective republican governments have engaged in concerted counter-terrorism offensives for several years now in an attempt to decisively defeat the Caucasus Emirate,” Henman said. “While they have somewhat succeeded in reducing the group’s operational tempo, they have not addressed the underlying causes of the insurgency.”

http://themoscownews.com/russia/20130716/191771837/Assessing-the-terrorist-threat-against-Sochi.html