Wait for Made in India minesweeper gets longer for the Navy: sources

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New Delhi | Updated: Nov 28, 2018 6:33 PM

Wait continues for the Request for Proposal (RfP) for Rs 32,640-crore 12 mine-countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) for the Indian Navy to be built at Goa Shipyard (GSL).

Karwar Class Minesweeper Ship. (Indian Navy website)

The wait continues for the Request for Proposal (RfP) for Rs 32,640-crore 12 mine-countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) for the Indian Navy to be built at Goa Shipyard (GSL). The MCMVs or minesweepers as they are called through transfer of technology (TOT) from a foreign collaborator, are to be built under the Make in India programme.

Speaking to Financial Express Online, a source said that “There are certain issues that need to be addressed before the RfP is issued for the MCMVs. A single vendor situation has emerged and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has yet to decide whether it should go ahead or make changes in the procedure for procurement.”

Due to this uncertainty and delay, and India Navy’s operational requirement, there were plans to lease a second hand MCMV from Australia, however that proposal has run into problems related to specifications and technical issues, explained the source. “The MCMV that the Indian Navy wants weigh close to 900 tonne and the Australian side was not meeting this specification.”

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the MoD had issued RFI (Request for Information) to two companies including South Korean company Kangnam Corporation and Italian shipbuilder M/s Intermarine. These two companies had earlier responded to the Expression of Interest for the MCMVs.

The MCMVs project is expected to fill gaps in the Navy’s mine warfare capability. However, sources confirmed to FE that during earlier discussions with Kangnam Corporation of South Korea, there were certain issues that needed to be addressed. “There were differences related to `Make in India’ aspect and terms and conditions for Technology Transfer and indigenisation.”

India has been trying to sign the deal with the Korean company since 2016. However there have been unprecedented delays. Navies deploy minesweepers to secure harbours by locating and destroying underwater mines and are considered vital for keeping critical sea lanes safe.

Recently a source confirmed to Financial Express Online that the South Korean company is looking at an opportunity to work with the Indian shipyard at Goa and confirmed that it will respond to RfP for the minesweepers whenever it is issued.

The specifications were given out by the Indian Navy, based on which the GSL had started looking out for global manufacturer for ToT as per the specifications laid out by the Indian Navy. Two companies who make such class of minesweepers responded which included Italian shipbuilder M/s Intermarine and Kangnam Corp of South Korea.

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