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October 2, 2015

India-Germany likely to announce joint defence production plan under ‘Make in India’ initiative


India and Germany will seek to expand strategic component in their inter governmental consultations (IGC) during Chancellor Angela Merkel's October 4-6 visit and may announce joint production of defence platform as part of Make in India initiative.

This will be first time that Delhi and Berlin may enter into joint defence production for the first time under the Make in India initiative as they seek to expand their strategic partnership. Officials familiar with the developments told ET that the two countries which so far focused essentially on economic partnership under IGC would favour strategic partnership to grow.

"Prime Minister Modi and Chancellor Merkel will hold discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including deepening bilateral engagement in defence, security, education, renewable energy, high technology manufacturing, skill development, science and technology, railways, water and waste management, urban development and agriculture. They will also exchange views on regional and global issues of common concern," informed a MEA statement.

While there is not likely to be a push from the German side on a government to government deal, sources say that two platforms that could be discussed for possible Indo-German cooperation include a new heavy torpedo that India requires for its Scorpene submarines as well as the upcoming contract for six new submarines under the P 75I project.

The Modi government is keen to expand basket of foreign defence partners and enter into joint production with an eye on self-reliance in the long run. German company ThyssenKrupp is one of the four contenders for the mega submarine project but ordering six new boats is likely to be a time consuming process involving Indian shipyards — both public and private.

The more deliverable project involves an immediate requirement of the Indian Navy - a new class of heavy torpedoes for the Scorpene submarines that are to enter service next year. A current plan to purchase 'Black shark' torpedoes by Italian Company WASS has been hanging for years due to the blacklisting of its parent company Finmecannica.

Sources said that one of the proposals that could be on the table is a possible joint development and production of German origin torpedoes for the urgent naval requirement.

economictimes

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