"Issues between Goa Shipyard and the South Korean collaborator in the project have been sorted out and the deal should be sealed by the end of this year," Vice Admiral DM Deshpande, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, said in New Delhi.
Last year, the Indian government had agreed to build 12 new MCMVs with the collaboration of a South Korean company at a shipyard in India. Indian defense ministry has revealed to a parliamentary panel that all the six MCMVs currently operational in Indian Navy will be retired by 2018.
This will leave the world's fifth largest navy without minesweepers, which is essential to detect and destroy mines laid by enemy forces to choke harbors and spread mayhem. India had bought six MCMVs from the erstwhile Soviet Union in the 1970s.
The deal was supposed to be concluded with Indian shipbuilder Goa Shipyard last year but it got delayed due to technology transfer issue. India was expecting delivery of first MCMVs under the contract in 2021 but it may get further delayed, which means the Indian Navy will have to cope without any MCMVs for more than three years at least.
The Indian Navy needs at least 24 MCMVs to plug the shortfall. China, on the other hand, has more than 100 minesweepers and mine countermeasure vehicles.