During a visit to India by Defense Minister Pistorius, a joint construction of submarines with the country is taking shape. The SPD politician is campaigning for the possible arms deal – and speaks of a milestone.
Mumbai - German and Indian shipbuilders have signed a memorandum of understanding for a multibillion-dollar submarine project during a visit by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. With the memorandum of understanding, representatives of ThyssenKrupp Marinesystems (TKMS) and the Indian shipyard Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders laid the foundation for a total of up to six submarines to be delivered in Mumbai on Wednesday.
"We have sent a very important signal today. A milestone can be said for a lighthouse project in a key technology," said the SPD politician in the Indian port metropolis, where he visited facilities of the Indian armed forces as well as the shipyard.
The government in New Delhi is looking for a cooperation partner for the production of six submarines on the ground in India, but has not yet decided. According to reports, bidders from Spain and South Korea are still in the running. As a possible volume of such a deal, an amount of more than five billion euros was recently mentioned. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders is the only company in India that builds submarines and destroyers. The Indian company has 1500 employees.
In the event of an order, TKMS would be responsible for the construction and design of the submarines as well as for advisory activities, while Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders would be responsible for construction and delivery, the German company said. And: "The construction of the new submarines would take place in India and thus make a significant contribution to local value creation."
Specifically, the companies are concerned with the potential construction of conventional submarines with air-independent propulsion. "We can look back on decades of trusting partnership with India. The boats that we built and delivered for the customer in the 1980s are still in use today," explained TKMS CEO Oliver Burkhard, who came to the signing ceremony. The project has been under negotiation for several years, but it could now become the first major step in closer military cooperation between Germany and India.
The day before, after talks in New Delhi, Pistorius had called for India to be treated as a strategic partner in the future along the lines of Australia and Japan, thus significantly facilitating arms cooperation. For Japan and Australia, simplified rules apply to arms deals, as they do not belong to the group of so-called third countries, but are on an equal footing with NATO partners. They can buy from German defense companies without a complex approval process, but the federal government can still object. Dpa