India needs vibrant warship building industry: Navy chief

Kolkata, March 26 (IANS) Affirming the Indian Navy’s commitment to indigenisation, chief of Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi Tuesday said the country needed a “vibrant and capable” warship construction industry.

“Indigenisation has been the cornerstone of the navy’s warship building and development programme. The ship that will be launched today with nearly 90 percent indigenous content is a fine example of the commitment of the navy and industry towards indigenisation,” Admiral Joshi said at the launch of the third anti-submarine warfare corvette (ASW corvette).
“So as to continue maintaining a strong and versatile navy capable of undertaking missions, there is a need to have a vibrant and capable warship construction industry,” he said.
The third ASW corvette ‘Kiltan’, christened and launched by the admiral’s wife Chitra, is the third constructed by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. here under the P-28 project.
The first ship of the class is likely to be delivered this year and three other ships by 2016.
Highlighting warship construction as a “strategic sector in our defence industrial capability”, Admiral Joshi said both private and public shipyards should strive to meet international standards.
“However, there is a crucial need of our shipyards, both public and private sectors, to constantly strive to be at the forefront of technology and capability so as to align built timeframes and technologies to global benchmarks and standards. This is very essential for them to prove their capability,” he said.
On the changes in the warship building industry, the admiral said: “Globally the warship building industry has undergone significant changes under the impact of the economic slowdown.”
“These include shutdowns and consolidations through mergers and acquisitions. This in turn has created surplus capacities in established yards elsewhere.”
He said the country should exploit the shift in construction activity to emerging economies following the economic slowdown.
“Concurrently the construction activity has shifted to emerging economies. These trends need to be exploited to our advantage. We hope that the recently introduced joint venture policy of our government would help our shipyards to usher in best management practices in ship design and construction to boost productivity and to derive advantage from the down turn in other parts of the world,” the naval chief said.
However, according to him, exporting indigenously developed products would be the ultimate test of the prowess of the ship building industry.