New Delhi: – After sanctioning the purchase of 101 items, in the defence equipment list, under Make in India, the defence ministry is likely to announce a major decision for the Indian Navy. The defence ministry will be inviting tenders for building the widely discussed, ‘Project P-75’, envisaging manufacture of 6 stealth submarines. It is claimed that the decision in the matter could be announced in the next week. Taking into account the important attached, by India, to the security of the Indian Ocean region, this is a critical decision.
India has a 7,500 kilometres long coastline and the Indian Navy has been demanding the necessary submarines, since the last many years, for the security of the coast. China, the Indian neighbour, has the second largest Navy in the world. Chinese Navy has 79 submarines and since the last few years, the concerned submarines have increased patrolling in the Indian marine regions of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Moreover, China will be supplying eight submarines to Pakistan. Whereas, there are only 17 submarines in the Indian Naval fleet. Against this background, demand for equipping the Indian Navy with more submarines is pending for many years now. India has increased its speed of defence preparedness, since the last few weeks, given the increasing tension with China and the demands of the Navy are also being met. It is being said that the long-standing demand of the Indian Navy, for stealth submarines, also will be fulfilled. As per sources in the defence ministry, there is a thick possibility that the tenders for the stealth submarines may be floated in the next month. Mazagon Docks Limited, Mumbai and L&T from the private sector will be invited to bid. The submarines will be manufactured under the Strategic Partnership policy of the government.
Under this policy, the Indian companies will receive the support of the foreign companies, as Original Equipment Manufacturer. Five foreign companies have been identified for this purpose. These include companies from Russia, France, Germany, Spain and South Korea. It is being said that the company having the maximum responsibility for the manufacture of the submarines will select one foreign company. Indian Navy is already equipped with submarines from Russia and France. As per the agreement signed between India and France, four Scorpene submarines will be commissioned in the Indian Navy, by 2022. Whereas, the Indian Navy will soon be having six nuclear submarines in its fleet. Other than these, four submarines equipped with long-range missiles will also be commissioned in the Indian Naval fleet.