India’s Modi government has recently approved a $6.14-billion program for the development of six conventional submarines. The move is in sync with the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy, being projected through the QUAD bloc, to counter China’s rising aggression in the region.
It’s worth mentioning that India’s second nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Arighat is slated to be commissioned later this year. As a major partner of the US-led QUAD, India is enhancing its submarine fleet.
Tenders To Be Floated
The Indian Navy will now issue tenders for the six submarines. The Request for Proposals (RFP) “envisages indigenous construction of six conventional submarines equipped with the state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system”.
In 2017, India’s Ministry of Defence had introduced a policy, which permits selected private-sector companies to manufacture arms and platforms, including submarines, in a partnership model with foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The six submarines will be the first platforms to be built under the strategic partnership model.