The French company Naval Group announced on 3rd May that it would be unable to participate in an Indian government submarine project envisioned under Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Aatmanirbhar Bharat project, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to France.
The French defense company Naval Group has indicated that it will not be able to join in the P-75 India (P-75I) project, which will see six conventional submarines built in India for the Indian Navy.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to meet with newly re-elected French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
The air-independent propulsion (AIP) system allows a conventional submarine to stay submerged in water at higher speeds for a longer period of time.
The P-75I project was approved by the defense minister in June of last year. Requests for proposal (RFPs) were then given to two shortlisted Indian companies: Larsen & Toubro and Mazagaon Docks Limited, both of which are privately held.
According to the Indian defense ministry, the two Indian companies (dubbed strategic partners) must form a partnership with one of the five shortlisted foreign companies — ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), Navantia (Spain), the Naval Group (France), Daewoo (South Korea), and Rosoboronexport (Russia) — and then respond to the RFPs.
Moreover, the defense ministry will award the Rs 43,000-crore contract after a thorough review of the submissions submitted by the two key partners.
“Due to certain conditions in the RFP, the two strategic partners could not forward the request to us and a few other FOEMs (foreign original equipment manufacturers), and thus we have not been able to place an official bid for the project,” Laurent Videau, the country and managing director of Naval Group India, said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to him, the Naval Group has always been ready to provide the best-in-class and tailored solution for the Indian Navy’s P75I project, which is in complete compliance with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat philosophy.
“…The present RFP requires that the fuel cell AIP (air-independent propulsion) be sea proven, which is not the case for us yet since the French Navy does not use such propulsion system,” the statement from Videau said.
Naval Group looking forward to a close relationship with India
Despite this, he said, the Naval Group is reaffirming its existing commitments and looking forward to a closer relationship with India.
“Our focus and efforts are directed toward continuing our collaboration with Indian industry in realizing the Government of India’s vision by supporting the Indian Navy for other future developments and projects (maintenance, high-tech tools, indigenous AIP, incremental improvements in Scorpene-designed submarines, heavyweight torpedoes, larger ships, and so on),” according to the statement.
India is one of the world’s top weaponry importers.
The government is working to lessen reliance on imported military platforms by increasing domestic defense manufacture.