Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the apex decision making of defence ministry has approved construction of six submarines at Indian shipyards at cost of over 40,000 crore rupees.
“The DAC in a landmark decision on Thursday approved indigenous construction of six submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs. 40,000 crore,” said a senior defence ministry official. These submarines will be constructed under a strategic partnership model. The private firms of India will build these submarines in partnership with foreign firms.
The Defence ministry is also considering the proposal for acquiring heavyweight torpedoes for the nuclear submarine INS Arihant and building six Scorpene-class submarines. “A high-level meeting of the Defence Ministry is expected to discuss the proposal to acquire heavy-weight torpedoes for the INS Arihant nuclear submarine and the submarines of the Kalvari-class of the Indian Navy. The Kalvari class are originally the Scorpene submarines of France built in India at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited (MDL),” said a source from the Indian Navy.
The construction of six submarines in Indian would be beneficial for Make in India in the defence sector, pet project of Modi government. “Construction of six submarines under Project 75 (I) will provide a major boost to the existing submarine design and manufacturing eco-system in India through transfer of design and equipment technology as well as a necessary skill sets,” said the official from defence ministry.
Indian Navy is going through major capability enhancement and modernization program to establish the country’s hegemony in the Indian Ocean. Given the increase in activities of China in the Indian Ocean, it is in the strategic interest of India to enhance the capabilities of the Indian Navy. Recently, INS Arihant, the lead ship in Arihant class attack submarines of Indian Navy, carried out its first deterrence patrol demonstrating India’s capability towards a credible nuclear deterrent. India is the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to achieve the ability to launch a nuclear attack from all three fronts. India has now officially become a country capable of Nuclear Triad which means the capability to fire a nuclear weapon from land, air and sea.
In the last few years, the indigenous manufacturing of defence equipment has exponentially moved northwards. All three defence ministers under Modi government – Manohar Parrikar, Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman prioritized the procurement of indigenously built equipment over foreign imports. As per a report, the emphasis on domestic defence manufacturing has saved foreign exchange worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the last few years.
Earlier, the parts of missile systems, submarines etc. were built in India but most of the technology-intensive equipment came from western countries like the United States, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom. The top-ranking officials in defence services previously preferred foreign-made arms and ammunition over domestically manufactured ones. But now the heads of three services of Indian Armed Forces back the indigenous manufacturing and have agreed on giving time and resources to domestic companies and research organizations like DRDO, Reliance Defence in order to develop world-class equipment with cutting edge technology. The projects awarded to DRDO in last few years include Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), helicopter-launched anti-tank guided missiles, Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) for Army, Short Range Surface to Air Missiles (SR-SAMs) for the Navy and Army, and armored vehicle launched anti-tank missiles for the ground force.