Indo- German defence ministers meet next week

As the NDA government decided to indigenously manufacture six more conventional submarines, Germany will make a strong pitch to partner India in developing the underwater platforms.

The Rs 50,000 crore submarine programme will be at the core of discussion between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen during their meeting on Tuesday.

Germany has one of the world’s most experienced submarine-making shipyards, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems that produces HDW class submarines.

While Mumbai-based Mazgaon Dock is manufacturing Scorpene class submarines with French assistance, the government accorded green signal for a second submarine assembly line in Indian yards with foreign collaboration.

A panel under the chairmanship of Vice Admiral A V Subhedar, controller of warship production and acquisition in the Navy, has been tasked to assess the capabilities of Indian shipyards – both public and private sectors – and submit a report to the defence minister, based on which a decision would be taken.

Known as Project-75I, the necessity for the second assembly line was approved way back in 2007 and the request for information was sent out to the shipyards in 2008.

Since then, the scheme underwent several changes and finally the NDA government cleared indigenous construction of the all the six submarines with air independent propulsion technology.

Leyen will arrive in Delhi on May 26 and hold talks with Parrikar on the same day. The German delegation will make a strong pitch to be a part of ‘Make in India’ initiative. Her visit is one of the ground preparation tours for German chancellor Angela Merkel’s planned bilateral tour in October.

Indian Navy currently uses four older generation HDW submarines that were inducted between 1986 and 1994. The purchase of these submarines was associated with allegation of corruption and cut money as the V P Singh government registered a case and the CBI probed the entire deal.

India and Germany will also discuss the Dornier programme and supply of heavy machinery needed in the military hardware under construction, said a defence ministry official.

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