India to export warship to Mauritius

India to export warship to Mauritius

India is set to export its first indigenously built warship, Barracuda, to the Mauritius later this month to mark a new beginning for indigenous defence production.

Constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata, the Rs 350-crore warship will be used by the coastguard of the island nation, which plays a vital role in India’s strategic matrix in the Indian Ocean region.

The offshore patrol vessel can be used for anti-piracy operations, anti-poaching operations, search and rescue, helicopter operations (without hangar) and oil spill removal among others.

In the sea trial, the ship performed better than specified requirements as it attained a maximum speed of 22.5 knots against the contractual need of 20 knot, said a GRSE official.

Satisfied with the Barracuda’s performance, Mauritius is likely to award fresh contracts worth more than Rs 1,000 crore to GRSE to manufacture two fast-attack craft and 10 fast-interceptor craft and the negotiations are in an advance stage of conclusion, sources said.

The Kolkata-based ship builder is not the only yard exporting smaller vessels for the navy and coastguard of friendly nations.

Goa Shipyard, too, has a contract with Sri Lanka to supply two off-shore patrol vessels. Interestingly, both GRSE and Goa shipyard have poor track record in export.

Exports yet to kick off

So far, India’s military export, however, has not taken off well though New Delhi is one of the world’s largest arms importers.

In the last three fiscal, India’s export was Rs 512.48 crore in 2011-12; Rs 446.75 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 686.27 crore in 2013-14.

Till September, 2014, India’s total defence equipment export was pegged at a lowly value of Rs 166.67 crore, as per the information shared by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in the Lok Sabha last month.

Besides Hindustan Aeronautics Limited-made Dhruv advanced light weight helicopters, no major military equipment were exported from India.

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