MoD approves construction of 6 submarines for 40K crore

The Defence Ministry on Thursday approved construction of six diesel-electric submarines at a cost of more than Rs 40,000 crore under the “Strategic Partnership” model that seeks to boost defence manufacturing in India.

The Defence Ministry on Thursday approved construction of six diesel-electric submarines at a cost of more than Rs 40,000 crore under the “Strategic Partnership” model that seeks to boost defence manufacturing in India.

Interestingly, this is the second clearance by the Narendra Modi government for the long-delayed Project 75I that was first approved by the Defence Ministry in October 2014 when Arun Jaitley was the defence minister. That time too the plan was to build six conventional submarines in Indian shipyards with foreign collaboration.

A second-time approval from the Defence Acquisition Council, now headed by Nirmala Sitharaman, becomes necessity because of the “Strategic Partnership” model that was evolved in the last three and half years.

Under the SP model, the six under-water boats will be constructed in an Indian shipyard in collaboration between a foreign vendor and an Indian partner.

When asked what additional benefits SP model would bring on the table from the earlier scheme of things, defence ministry officials didn't respond.

A defence ministry spokesperson said, “In a landmark decision, the DAC on Thursday approved indigenous construction of six submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs 40,000 crore. This is the second project under MoD's ambitious Strategic Partnership model that aims at providing significant fillip to the Make in India programme.”

Having a second assembly line of conventional submarines was part of the Indian Navy's 1999 long-term perspective plan that envisaged acquiring 24 submarines in 30 years. The project was first approved by the Defence Ministry in 2007.

In the last 11 years, Project-75I remained in limbo in paperwork as the contours of the project underwent several modifications.

In July 2017, the Defence Ministry issued a “request for information” to six international arms majors for construction of these submarines. Those who received the RFI in sealed envelops were Rosoboronexport (Russia), Navantia (Spain), Saab (Sweden), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (German), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan) and Naval Group (formerly French DCNS), sources said. All of them responded.

With the approval of the SP plans for these submarines, the Defence Ministry would now have to start the process of selecting the original equipment manufacturer and Indian vendor for the over-delayed project as Indian Navy struggles with a depleting submarine fleet.

In July 2018, the Defence Ministry approved the first SP project under which 111 naval utility helicopters are to be made in India. Six months down the line, the ministry is yet to invite the private companies to participate in what could be an estimated Rs 21,000 crore deal.

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MoD approves construction of 6 submarines for 40K crore

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