Rear Admiral Sanjay Mahindru Flag Commanding Officer, Maharashtra Naval Area

Admiral-Sanjay-Mahindru

How can Indian Ship Building industry help support Indian Navy’s vision to be Blue Water Navy?

Indian Navy is moving towards its vision of a Blue Water Navy by inducting state of the art ships and submarines capable of being deployed in our areas of interest around the globe. The Indian Ship building industry has not been able to match the pace of Naval induction program due to which the Navy had to acquire a few ships from foreign shipyards. Eg. Three each of Talwar and Teg Class ex Russia. The Indian ship building has been plagued by material and design issues which restrict the operational capability of the complex platforms. The delivery of the ships often gets delayed as the ships encounter major issues during trials, forcing the Navy to accept ships with design faults, which later get corrected in the follow-on ships of the same class. There is therefore a need by the shipping industry to embrace the best technology and material quality available in international market to provide quality ships matching international standard. Towards this the Indian Ship builder needs to liaise with Naval Design team to incorporate naval design elements specific to warship construction.

What has been the experience with Government owned shipyard?

Govt. owned shipyards are primarily owned by Ministry of Defense or Ministry of Surface Transport. Statistics show that the shipyards owned by MoD are much more efficient and productive. These shipyards have been hiring ex- naval personnel, who per-se do not have any international exposure to best practices on ship building. However, their experience of serving onboard Indian warships help in better understanding of Naval Staff Requirement. Govt owned shipyards (PSUs) have suffered due to extensive public involvement, leading to slower reforms. Labour legislations creates barrier making them inefficient. It is almost impossible to cut down work force despite low productive output from the workers. Sub- contracting of specialized jobs becomes difficult. Most of the PSU shipyards lack large dry-dock facilities. Poor workmanship often leads to defects occurring onboard ships, shortly after commissioning. Indian Shipyards over time have mastered manufacture of hull, but they still don’t match the international standards when it comes to electronic and machinery. They are characterized by long construction periods and unreliable delivery timelines.

With the new initiative and policies in place, PSU shipyards are showing coordinate improvement in their productivity, design and over built quality of ships. The policy reforms have made them competitive in global market. However, there is a long way to go and a lot of scope for improvement.

How can private shipyards leverage the ‘Make in India’ campaign and help the Indian Defense Ship building?
The government has granted infrastructure status to shipyard industry in a boost to its Make in India initiative. This has cut the borrowing costs by about 30 %, making the ship building industry a profitable venture for private players. Additional finance assistance of 20 % of the contract price or fair price, whichever is lower, is being granted to ship builders on delivery of ship. The percentage of financial assistance reduces by 3% every year. This move has encouraged ship builders to deliver ship on time, which was one the drawbacks of the Indian Shipyards.
With the new initiative, and taxation policies in place over import of technology under the Make in India initiative, private shipbuilders can now collaborate with the foreign counterparts for building Naval Warships in private shipyards. Use of latest design elements, state of the art technology in ship building, high grade metallurgy and use of top quality material can be the strengths of the collaboration, which can provide complex state of the art ships and submarines to the Navy, delivered on time, as per the schedule.

Can you throw some light on MoDs ‘Indian Naval Indigenization Plan 2015-2030’? How will it benefit the Indian Public and Private shipyards and industry to produce locally?
The Indian Navy’s foray into indigenization began over five decades ago, with the design and construction of warships in the country. While much has been achieved in the past, the time is now ripe for launching into a new phase of self-reliance by manufacturing technologically advanced equipment within India, in pursuance of the Govt. of India’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. Recognizing this, the Indian Navy has embarked upon an initiative to evolve a guiding document. ‘The Indian Navy Indigenization Plan 2015- 2030’ to enunciate the need for developing advanced systems for its platforms. The document is aimed to enable indigenous development of equipment and systems over the next 15 years. It attempts to formulate the requirements of Indian Navy and lists out the equipment which can be taken up for indigenization in the coming years. It is expected that release of this plan would synergize Indian Navy’s relationship with the industry and encourage all sectors of industry to come forward and participate in indigenous development of weapons, sensors and other high-end equipment for the Indian Navy, thereby making the nation self-reliant in this vital domain of defense technology.

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