In October, naval experts were left scratching their heads when media reports resurfaced that India was preparing to lease an Akula II-class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia. As they had in the past, the reports said the decade-long lease agreement had been confirmed and that the nearly completed submarine Nerpa was preparing for transfer to India. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, immediately denied any discussions or agreements on the subject. That same month, 2,000 sailors from the U.S. Navy and Indian Navy took part in naval exercises dubbed Malabar ’04 off the southwest coast of India. This was the sixth Malabar exercise between the two nations and involved such activities as small boat transfers, group maneuvers, and nighttime underway replenishment. The U.S. Navy frigate Gary (FFG-51), submarine Alexandria (SSN-757), and cruiser Cowpens (CG-63) took part in the exercises, along with several Indian naval warships. The Indian Navy’s Dehli -class guided-missile destroyer Mysore , right, participated in opening day maneuvers on 5 October 2004. In September, the U.S. and Pakistani navies conducted similar maneuvers as part of exercise Inspired Siren 2004.