After years of political and bureaucratic delays, India is finally set to kick off its mega-submarine project titled Project 75 (India), under its new Strategic Partnership Model in defence manufacturing unveiled recently.
Six countries: France, Japan, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Spain will collaborate with a selected Indian shipyard for the Rs. 70,000 crore project to co-produce advanced stealth submarines.
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India's submarine fleet to welcome new members!
What is the strategic partnership model?
The model aims to invite the participation of Indian private players in building defence equipment including fighter jets and submarines for India, in partnership with foreign entities.
The projects will be implemented through Joint Ventures controlled by Indian companies, with FDI capped at 49%.
The model further enables Indian companies to benefit from technology transfer from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).
Who are the foreign entities involved?
Six shipbuilders including Saab (Sweden), Mitsubishi-Kawasaki Combine (Japan), Rosoboronexport Rubin Design Bureau (Russia), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), and Navantia (Spain) have been issued a Request for Information, which they have to respond to by September 15.
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Alarmingly low number of submarines in India
Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, earlier noted that the Indian Navy has commissioned only 2 submarines and de-commissioned 5 over the last 15 years.
India is now left with 14 submarines, half of which have crossed 3/4th of their operational life, compared to China which has 68 submarines.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence had expressed dismay at the "snail pace" of commissioning naval vessels.
We need more submarines!
While the strength of India's submarine fleet presently stands at 13, for effective deterrence against China and Pakistan, the Indian Navy should have 18 diesel-electric submarines, six nuclear-powered attack submarines and four nuclear-powered submarines fitted with nuclear-tipped long-range missiles.
The Navy will now formulate Naval Staff Qualitative Requirements.
The formal Request for Proposal inviting bids from the identified Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) will then be issued and an Indian counterpart would be chosen.
While the selection process may take upto 2 years, the submarine can get delivered 7-8 years after inking the final contract.
The process will stress on technology transfer from OEMs.
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