Naval Group of France has once again reaffirmed its dedication to augmenting India’s maritime capabilities, taking a significant step with the inauguration of a Support & Repair facility for Kalvari class submarines at the Shirwada Industrial area in Karwar (Karnataka Naval Area) on September 13. This collaborative endeavor aligns seamlessly with the ‘Make in India’ initiative and marks a milestone in the longstanding partnership between the two nations.
In a statement released on July 16, Naval Group expressed its intent for an extended partnership between India and France, particularly in the realm of ‘next-generation’ future submarine projects. This announcement follows the resounding success of the first Scorpene submarine construction program (P75 – Kalvari class), serving as an exemplar of indigenous production, and the sharing of naval expertise between the two countries.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was formally inked between Mazagon Dockyard Ltd and Naval Group for the construction of three additional submarines under the P75 program. The Ministry of Defence recognizes this as a significant milestone, further fortifying India’s naval capabilities. Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, commended the declarations made during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic participation in the French National Day, emphasizing, “We welcome the declarations made during the Indian Prime Minister’s historic participation in the French National Day, to continue and further strengthen our 15-year submarine building cooperation, which is a major element of the Indo-French strategic partnership developed over the past decades.” Pommellet reiterated, “Naval Group and its partners will be fully mobilized to meet the expectations of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and the Indian industry to fulfill the needs of the Indian Navy.”
According to the official statement from the Naval Group, this extension of the Indo-French partnership not only underscores the trust vested by the Indian Navy in established industrial cooperation but also highlights the success achieved in technology transfer under the P27 agreement. Naval Group expressed its gratitude to both Indian and French authorities for their unwavering commitment to advancing this crucial collaboration.
Furthermore, the ‘Make In India’ policy remains at the heart of the P75 program, reflecting India’s determination to achieve self-reliance in naval defense technologies. The Naval Group statement emphasizes that this initiative has been pivotal in equipping the Indian Navy with modern and cutting-edge capabilities.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France, both leaders adopted ‘Horizon 2047: 25th Anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership, Towards A Century of India-France Relations.’ The joint statement of both governments underscores India and France’s readiness to embark on even more ambitious projects aimed at enhancing the performance of the Indian submarine fleet.
This strategic move not only strengthens bilateral ties between India and France but also reinforces India’s commitment to enhancing its maritime defense capabilities through strategic collaborations and indigenous production. It comes at a crucial time when there is a growing presence of Chinese forces in the Indian Ocean region and Pakistan’s active efforts to acquire more conventional Chinese submarines, underscoring the importance of bolstering India’s maritime security.