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Germany’s deputy foreign minister, Tobias Lindner, has announced the German government’s intention to reform its export control rules, aiming to streamline the process for India to purchase weapons from German companies. This move comes in response to recent challenges faced by Indian procurement projects due to delays and restrictions in obtaining German-made equipment.

Germany, known for its stringent export control regulations, has historically placed restrictions on the export of weapons and military equipment. However, recognizing the strategic partnership between India and Germany, Lindner emphasized the need to facilitate smoother transactions between Indian buyers and German manufacturers.

Recent incidents, such as delays in the delivery of MTU Powerpack engines for India’s Light Tank Project, have underscored the challenges associated with navigating through German export clearance procedures. The inability of German MTU to obtain timely clearance from the government has resulted in disruptions and delays in India’s Light Tank program, necessitating alternative procurement solutions.

India had to turn to the American company Cummins for Powerpack engines after delays in obtaining clearance for MTU engines. The subsequent need for modifications to accommodate the new engines caused further delays in the India’s Light Tank Project, highlighting the repercussions of export control issues on defence procurement timelines.

Similarly, the unavailability of MB 838 Ka-501 engines for additional Arjun Mk1A Main Battle Tanks due to production cessation further exemplifies the complexities of relying on specialized equipment with limited export availability. DRDO now plans to develop its own DATRAN-1500 HP engine for the Arjun Mk1A Program.

Lindner also endorsed TKMS’s submarine offer to India and assured Germany is commitment to enhancing defence cooperation with India. TKMS has proposed to provide technology transfer and jointly manufacture submarines with India’s Mazagon Dock Limited under Indian Navy’s tender for Six submarines under Project-75-I.

While Lindner has promised streamlined export processes for selected defence projects to push Germany’s recognition of India as a key strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region. Only time will tell if the facilitating will see smoother defence procurement procedures in near future.

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