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At the NDTV Defence Summit 2024, Arun Ramchandani, Executive Vice-President of L&T Defence, delivered a compelling address shedding light on the critical need for India to modernize its shipbuilding capabilities to keep pace with global counterparts, particularly China. Ramchandani’s insights underscored the urgency for India to adopt cutting-edge technologies and streamline processes to enhance the speed and efficiency of its shipbuilding endeavours.

Ramchandani’s assessment of India’s shipbuilding capacity painted a stark picture, highlighting the significant gap between India and China in this critical sector. He emphasized that to bridge this disparity, India must embrace modern technologies and foster a conducive ecosystem that facilitates rapid scale-up and deployment of naval platforms.

Shipbuilding, a complex and resource-intensive endeavour, demands a robust ecosystem comprising skilled labour, advanced infrastructure, and efficient supply chains. Ramchandani stressed the importance of fortifying this ecosystem to expedite the sourcing and construction of naval vessels, thereby bolstering India’s maritime capabilities.

Central to Ramchandani’s vision is the imperative for the Indian Navy to expedite the procurement process for warships and leverage private shipyards to fulfil its requirements.

Defence analyst Ranesh Rajan for long advocated for a departure from conventional timelines, citing the lengthy duration of approximately 7 years for frontline warships like destroyers and frigates in India, in stark contrast to China’s significantly shorter timelines.

In China, the efficiency of shipbuilding operations is exemplified by the expeditious completion of vessels such as the Type 055 and Type 052D, which typically take around 3 years and 2 years, respectively, from launching to commissioning.

Defence analyst Ranesh Rajan emphasized the need for India to emulate China’s approach by adopting a mass-ordering strategy for standardized naval platforms, akin to China’s practice of ordering the same type with minor modifications to facilitate faster construction.

The call for mass ordering resonates with defence analysts who advocate for continuity and consistency in procurement strategies to optimize efficiency and resource utilization. By adhering to standardized platforms and minimizing deviations, India can streamline the construction process, reduce costs, and enhance operational readiness across its naval fleet.

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