A report in the Economic Times say that Russia wants to make India a global hub for the upgrade, maintenance and repair of conventional submarines and its leading shipyard is in final talks to select an Indian joint venture partner for a mega project to set up facilities.
India and Russia have already decided to accelerate bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to take their strategic bilateral ties forward.
"The Russian side is open to negotiations with Indian partners on various projects, including cooperation and JV [joint ventures] to manufacture modern defense equipment," said an official.
Now, with contracts worth billions in the offing for the upgrade of Russian origin diesel electric submarines — several from the Indian Navy itself — the joint venture has the potential of making the selected Indian shipyard a serious player in the international market.
Officials from the state-run Zvyozdochka shipyard told ET that a memorandum of understanding could be signed within a month as it is in final talks with an Indian partner for the project. Russian engineers have already visited the Indian yard and advised it on changes to be made as well as investments needed to execute the project.
“We are in the process of negotiating with an Indian shipyard and if these negotiations are successful, it could become our partner for future tasks of modernizing Kilo class submarines. Not just for India but for third nations as well,” Evgeny V Shustikov, Deputy Director General of Zvyozdochka told ET.
Russia would arguably be the most sensible foreign partner for India as the two countries have an extensive defense technology relationship that dates back to the Soviet Union days. This has most certainly included submarines. In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, the Soviet Union sold India eight Foxtrot-class submarines, which India operated as Vela-class submarines.