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Amidst a sluggish pace in India’s Project-75I tender for six conventional diesel submarines, German defence giant Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has made a bold move. German officials, during a recent visit to India, presented a comprehensive roadmap for a direct government-to-government (G2G) sale of their advanced U-214/212 submarines. This comes as a potential alternative to the tender process, which is expected to take a significant 3-5 years to finalize.

India’s Project-75I tender has attracted two major contenders: TKMS from Germany and Navantia from Spain. Both companies have offered their latest submarines equipped with next-generation Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems and lithium-ion battery technology, promising extended underwater endurance – a crucial factor for Indian naval operations. However, while Navantia is participating in the tender process, TKMS is pushing for a quicker and potentially more lucrative G2G deal.

The G2G route, favoured by TKMS, bypasses the lengthy tender process and allows for direct negotiations between the two governments. This could potentially expedite the acquisition of the submarines, providing India with much-needed modern underwater capabilities sooner. However, the G2G approach also raises concerns about transparency and potential cost implications.

The Indian government faces a crucial decision. On the one hand, the tender process offers a more open and competitive environment, potentially securing a more cost-effective deal. On the other hand, the G2G option promises faster delivery and potentially closer strategic cooperation with Germany. Ultimately, the decision will depend on a careful evaluation of technical specifications, financial proposals, and the overall strategic benefits each approach offers.

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