NEW DELHI, India - In a bid to fill the gap in capability, the Indian Navy is said to have signed a deal with a South Korean defense major.
The deal, priced at nearly Rs 35,000 crore, involves building 12 minesweeping vessels and is set to be sealed by the end of this year.
Vice Admiral D M Deshpande, Controller of the Navy's Warship Production and Acquisition has confirmed that the issues between Goa Shipyard and the South Korean collaborator in the project have been sorted out.
Further, reports pointed out that the Navy's existing fleet of six Soviet-origin minesweeping ships will be decommissioned by the end of 2018.
Due to this, the parliamentary standing committee on defence criticised the government - urging it to make efforts to fill the gap in the Navy's capability.
By the end of the year, Deshpande has said that a contract for procurement of Landing Platform Docks (LPD) will also be finalised.
The Navy had been planning to procure four 20,000-ton LPD at a cost of around $2 billion.
Addressing an interactive session at FICCI, Deshpande said, "I can confidently say that by the end of the year, we should be able to sign the contract for the LPD.”
Commenting on the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-II) project, he said the Navy will be able to approach the Defence Ministry in the next two-three months for funds for the project.
By then, ground work on it would also be finalised.
He said, “It is a big ticket item. There is a lot of positivity both from the government side as well as the Navy. May be in two-three months, we will be in a position to take up the issue with the (defence) ministry to get funds.”
This will be the second indigenous aircraft carrier and will be one of the largest across the world.
According to Deshpande, the Navy is looking at procuring 57 aircraft too.
Last year, the country’s Navy rejected the naval version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
He said, “We are looking at 57 aircraft which we plan to induct. That is in the pipeline.”
Further, he noted that if the government’s strategic partnership model does not come through, then the Navy may look at buying submarines through other routes.
As part of the Project 75, six Scorpene submarines, designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, are being built by Mazagon Dock Ltd in Mumbai.