Despite being cleared a year ago, the project to indigenously construct six conventional submarines for the Navy has failed to make any headway as the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) has not yet been finalised.
In April, Defence Minister Parrikar had constituted a committee under former defence secretary Dhirendra Singh to recommend changes in the DPP. While the committee has already made its recommendations, the final DPP is likely to be rolled out by the end of this year.
The Rs 50,000-80,000-crore project, the first to be cleared by the Modi government under ‘Make in India’ programme, is critical for the depleting submarine arm of the Navy.
“The Defence Ministry has received a report authored by Vice Admiral A V Subhedar that has identified the Indian shipyards, which can undertake construction of these submarines. However, to zero in on one shipyard and award the contract, the DPP has to be finalised first,” a Defence Ministry official said.
The submarine project was cleared by Arun Jaitley-chaired Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in October 2014. The defence ministry had then ordered a committee under Vice Admiral Subhedar to identify Indian shipyards. The committee had surveyed seven Indian shipyards — HSL, Mazagon Docks Limited, Pipavav, GRSE, Goa Shipyards Limited, Cochin Shipyards Limited and Larsen and Toubro — for the execution of the project in collaboration with foreign manufacturers.
The project is crucial for the Navy which in 1999 had set a target to acquire 24 submarines by 2030.