German Defense Minister Hard-sells Submarines, Military Equipment to India

  • Our Bureau
  • 12:48 PM, May 27, 2015
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German Defense Minister Hard-sells Submarines, Military Equipment to India
German Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, during the guard of honor (Photo: SpokespersonMoD on Twitter)

German Defense Minister Ursula Von Der who is on a two day visit to India has offered German submarine technology and other military hardware to Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar during a meeting on Tuesday.

“Partnering of Germany in the Make in India program was discussed. Both sides exchanged views on the supply of state-of-the-art equipment and technology,” Indian defense ministry spokesperson tweeted.

“I wanted to send a clear signal that the (German) federal government will support this,” von der Leyen was quoted as saying by Der Spiegel news daily. The German defense minister also noted that “there is Indian interest in industry cooperation for the construction of submarines.”

Ursula is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

India is constructing six Scorpene class diesel-electric attack submarines Poject-75I submarines at an estimated cost of INR 60,000 crore (US $9.4 billion) with the French cooperation at the Mazagon Dock in Mumbai.

According to the project proposal, two submarines will be directly bought from one selected foreign shipyard with the remaining four built in India. Germany will face DCNS (France), Navantia (Spain), Kockums (Sweden), Rubin Design Bureau-Amur Shipyard (Russia), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Japan) as competitors.

Major Indian private companies are also eyeing the project and are on the look-out for foreign partners for a Joint Venture. Reliance Infrastructure which holds 18 per cent stakes in Pipavav Defense and Offshore Engineering, India’s largest defense shipyard to manufacture warships has floated three subsidiaries, Reliance Defense Systems, Reliance Defense Technologies and Reliance Defense & Aerospace in a move to pursue opportunities in the defense sector.

Adani Group registered a new firm- Adani Defense Systems and Technologies in March this year with an eye to invest in defense manufacturing. Adani Defense is in talks with Swedish Saab whose product line-up ranges from fighter jets to submarines. The Adani group has the largest private port and SEZ in Mundra, Gujarat and is keen on setting up production facilities for defense manufacturing.

Germany and India are already in talks over the possible acquisition of six small German Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) diesel-electric submarines, equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that totally cost $ 11 billion. The submarines would be built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Kiel.

TKMS has offered an export variant of the stealthy HDW Type 212, the HDW Type 214.

“I wanted to send a clear signal that the [German] federal government will support this,” von der Leyen said.  The German defense minister also noted that “there is Indian interest in industry cooperation for the construction of submarines.”

The German minister also tried lobbying multi-role fighter Eurofighter Typhoon after India recently announced purchasing only 36 Dassault Rafale fighters from France instead of 126 specified in MMRCA deal.

Germany has been lobbying for the fighter jet induction for quite some time now.

European military consortium European Aeronautic Defense and Space (EADS) which manufactures Eurofighter in April had expressed that it is still ready to provide Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to India.

Ahead of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Germany German Ambassador, Michael Steinersaid, “The consortium stands ready with their proposal. The governments of the four nations are supporting this proposal because they are convinced it is a good one both in terms of quality of the product and price.”

Ever since Narendra Modi took a decision to buy 36 Dassault Rafale aircraft from France and scrapping the earlier $20 billion dollar MMRCA deal to replace Indian Air Force’s aging MiG-21 and MiG-27 fleets, US and European defense manufacturing companies see India as a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

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