For the second time the US has sent a vessel to Larsen & Toubro’s (L&T) Kattupalli shipyard in Chennai for repairs. The US Navy’s replenishment vessel, USNS Matthew Perry, has docked at L&T Kattupalli for repairs from March 11-29. Last August, the dry cargo ship Charles Drew underwent minor repairs for over 11 days.
The India-US 2+2 meeting in April 2022 resulted in both countries agreeing to explore the potential of using Indian shipyards to repair and maintain ships from the US Maritime Sealift Command, and to provide mid-voyage repairs to the US Naval ships.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar has announced that the increasing utilization of Indian shipyards and naval dockyards by friendly foreign countries for repair and refit of their platforms has enhanced the prospects of India’s indigenous shipbuilding industry. Speaking at a talk on ‘National Security Challenges in the Maritime Domain’ earlier this week organized by Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), he emphasized that India has an opportunity to eventually undertake major repairs and refit and position itself as a hub in the region.
The recently released Economic Survey 2022-23 has recognized the Navy‘s contribution to shipbuilding and noted that every rupee spent on shipbuilding triggers circulation of Rs1.82 in the economy. Adm Kumar has also highlighted that 41 out of the total 43 ships and submarines ordered by the Navy are currently being constructed in Indian shipyards.
The navy chief has emphasized the employment opportunities generated by the construction of the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, stating that it had employed close to 2,000 shipyards and 13,000 non-yard personnel annually, proving the estimated shipbuilding employment multiplier effect of 6.4. He added that the Navy’s current order book worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore will result in the circulation of nearly Rs 2.73 lakh crore in the shipbuilding sector as a whole.
The deepening of military and security cooperation between India and the US over the last few decades, with India recently signing all foundational agreements and acquiring military hardware and platforms from the US, has also been noted.