Apart from the foundation stone-laying for the Rs 1.1-lakh crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s forthcoming visit to India will also see a major headway in India-Japan commercial ties in the area of defence equipment. According to official sources, with both India and Japan agreeing to boost equipment collaboration and dual-use technologies, several top Japanese defence companies are expected to reach India on Wednesday, as part of a high-level delegation accompanying Abe. There will be discussions on several bilateral joint ventures during the Japanese prime minister’s stay in the country.
Some of the Japanese firms expected to be part of the delegation include Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (which specialises in drones and radars); Fujitsu; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and HITACHI. India is looking to strengthen its military cooperation with Japan and is interested in sourcing defence technologies for domestic manufacture of arms and equipment, the sources said.
Japan, on its part, is keen on expanding its defence role and capability amid security concerns over China and North Korea. Japan’s leading shipbuilders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have received request for information (RFI) for the Indian Project 75(I), where the foreign company with its local partner will build six submarines under Prime
However, the much-debated $1.65-billion sale of ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft of the US-2i amphibious planes remains in limbo. The Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are seeking 12 of these search and rescues aircraft (SAR) to expand their reach and capability.
As reported earlier by FE, a senior diplomat had said: “Japan is offering the amphibious aircraft for manufacture in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s indigenisation drive. There have been intense discussions between the two sides on reviving the deal that had been put on hold, as both sides have tried to iron out issues that forced the government to push it back.”
As reported earlier by FE, both sides have been hopeful for some decision to be taken about this deal soon. Given that the Navy’s requirement for search and rescue aircraft is limited, the two sides are looking at the possibility of exports to third countries. Tokyo has also suggested that the parts for the aircraft will be manufactured in India and they are setting up an MRO.
While the Indian Navy has been saying that this aircraft is not its immediate requirement, issues relating to transfer of technology, costs and technicalities of exporting the SAR aircraft have created problems in concluding the contract.
The Indian Navy had issued requests for information for an amphibian plane in late 2010 to Japanese ShinMaywa, Canada’s Bombardier for its CL-415 platform, Russia’s Beriev Be-200, and US/German Company Dornier for its Seastar CD2.