Staff, The Nation
6 May 2016
NEW DELHI – In a departure from its traditional approach to business in India Germany for the first time has offered a military deal under the government to government umbrella for its new-generation conventional submarines having exceptional underwater endurance.
While the German government had in the past stayed away from contracts being made by its arms industries in India, the HDW 214 submarines have been offered as a special case for Indian Navy's requirement of six submarines, which are to be made in India at an estimated cost of over Rs 60,000 crore.
Sources said that the formal proposal is being shared with the Ministry of Defense in which the German government will give assurances on fair price, technology transfer and quality.
Russian and French submarines manufacturers are also competing for the mega P 75I project, which is likely to see a private sector ship yard doing a major chunk of the work. India will be mandating Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) – a technology that enables the submarine to remain underwater for several days at a stretch instead of coming up to surface frequently to replenish oxygen needed to burn the fuel for the submarines.
"The offer has certain assurances that the product will meet Indian requirements," an official involved in the process said. Russia, which is developing its own AIP system, has already advised India to conclude the P 75I project under a government deal as it has too many complexities of technology transfer.
German company Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems the manufacturers of the submarine said it "is not in a position to comment on talks between the governments of the two nations", but said it was interested in offering its 214 class boats with "robust transfer of technology, training and meeting offset obligations". "We define this as a 'no-holds barred' transfer of technology in line with the Modi government's 'Made in India' push," the company spokesperson said in response to a detailed questionnaire.