India bids for building frigates for Manila

9:16:00 PM
NEW DELHI, -- Even as India is now all set to export its first warship to Mauritius, it is also bidding for an Rs 2,000 crore project to build two frigates for Philippines amid stiff competition from European and South Korean shipyards.

Kolkata-based defence shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) is also gearing up to build four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Vietnam under the $100 million credit line extended to it. India is helping Vietnam with submarine and fighter training as well as military equipment, with both being wary of an assertive China in the Asia Pacific region, as reported earlier by TOI.

The export of the 1,350-tonne OPV to Mauritius -- christened CGS Barracuda after being built for $58.5 million - also marks a new milestone for India, whose arms imports are a staggering 40 times the size of its exports.

"This is the first warship export order for any domestic shipyard. We are going to handover the OPV to a delegation from Mauritius in Kolkata on December 20. After this, I hope the interest among our friendly countries to buy Indian warships will go up," said GRSE chairman and managing director Rear Admiral (retd) A K Verma on Thursday.

Though it might be "tough" to bag the Philippines' contract due to the competition from a Spanish, a French and three Korean shipyards, Verma said he was hopeful of stitching up the deal. "We are testing ourselves there," he said.

As for Vietnam, Verma said technical negotiations were underway for the four 140-tonne fast-patrol boats with aluminum hulls. All this could eventually pave the way for India's warship-building industry to come into its own in terms of exports. Incidentally, all the 41 warships currently on order by the Navy are being built in Indian shipyards for well over Rs 2 lakh crore.

NOTE: Inserted picture does not represent the actual acquisition of the project.

Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Kamorta-class Anti Submarine Warfare Corvette.  Indian Navy's next-generation anti submarine warfare  platform.

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