India, South Korea to Jointly Build Five Warships in Next Five Years
South Korea's willingness to transfer technology to India has made it one of India's most favored defense partners, bagging mega projects including joint production of warships and artillery guns.
New Delhi (Sputnik) – India's state-owned shipbuilding company Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) has said it expects to seal the deal with South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. within a year to build five fleet-support ships (FSS) for the Indian Navy. Bilateral negotiations for the project had started in 2015 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited South Korea.
A five member South Korean delegation along with Indian Navy officials had visited HSL in Vizag between August 21-23 to discuss the FSS construction plan; for which, a timeline would be finalized soon. It is estimated that construction of five FSS would cost $1.4 billion to Indian Navy.
During a press meet, HSL Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral L.V. Sarat Babu said that the first ship is expected to roll out in October 2022 from the Hyundai facility in South Korea. Simultaneously, the construction of another FSS would start at HSL facility with the technological cooperation of Hyundai. "Our plan is to roll out one FSS every 10 months after the delivery of the first vessel from Hyundai," L.V. Sarat Babu said.
Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) was picked up by the Indian government for the strategic collaboration to gain technological know-how in defense shipbuilding.
"The cooperation with the Korean Shipyard would enable HSL to upgrade and modernize its facilities and execute naval shipbuilding projects in a timely and cost effective manner. HSL would be able to imbibe best practices in shipbuilding leading to effective project management," Ashok Kumar Gupta, Secretary (Defence Production), Indian defense ministry said during the signing of an Inter-governmental MoU in April this year.
The Indian government is consistently making efforts to minimize the import content in naval projects. The import component of Ships manufactured by Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) was 21 per cent in 2016-17 which is slightly lower than 27 per cent of 2015-16.
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