IN­DIA AND SOUTH KOREA SPE­CIAL STRATE­GIC PART­NER­SHIP

The main ed­i­fice of the Mou rests upon de­vel­op­ing and strength­en­ing de­fence in­dus­try co­op­er­a­tion which will rec­om­mend the or­gan­i­sa­tions for col­lab­o­rat­ing in core war­ship build­ing projects

SP's NavalForces - - FRONT PAGE - REAR AD­MI­RAL SUSHIL RAM­SAY (RETD)

The main ed­i­fice of the MoU rests upon de­vel­op­ing and strength­en­ing de­fence in­dus­try co­op­er­a­tion which will rec­om­mend the or­gan­i­sa­tions for col­lab­o­rat­ing in core war­ship build­ing projects.

Rear Ad­mi­ral Sushil Ram­say (Retd)

SIGN­ING oF tHE MEM­o­rAN­duM of un­der­stand­ing ( Mou) be­tween In­dia and South Korea on April 21, 2017, sig­ni­fied a ma­jor turn in the grow­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two coun­tries. Whilst the in­stant Mou signed was for de­fence in­dus­try co­op­er­a­tion in ship­build­ing, there was an­other im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment by way of sign­ing of con­tract be­tween In­dian com­pany Larsen & toubro (L&t) and South Korean com­pany Han­wha tech­win to jointly man­u­fac­ture a 155mm, 52-cal­i­bre gun, mounted on a tracked, ar­moured ve­hi­cle for the In­dian Army.

Around the same time there was yet an­other im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment re­ported that the be­lea­guered de­sign con­sul­tancy and tech­no­log­i­cal as­sis­tance for con­struc­tion of 12 mine coun­ter­mea­sure ves­sels (MCMVs) from Kang­nam Cor­po­ra­tion of South Korea to the Goa Ship­yard Limited was at the ad­vance stages of ne­go­ti­a­tions and likely to be con­cluded by the end of this year.

Co­op­er­a­tion in Ship­build­ing

the Mou for de­fence in­dus­try co­op­er­a­tion in ship­build­ing was signed by In­dia’s Sec­re­tary de­fence Pro­duc­tion Ashok Ku­mar Gupta and South Korean de­fence Ac­qui­si­tion and Pro­gramme Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter Chang My­oung-Jin. The main ed­i­fice of the Mou rests upon de­vel­op­ing and strength­en­ing de­fence in­dus­try co­op­er­a­tion which will rec­om­mend the or­gan­i­sa­tions for col­lab­o­rat­ing in core war­ship build­ing projects. the salient points of the Mou are as fol­lows:

●● de­velop and strengthen de­fence in­dus­try co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the repub­lic of In­dia and the repub­lic of Korea.

●●the two sides will rec­om­mend the or­gan­i­sa­tions for col­lab­o­rat­ing in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of spe­cific projects.

●●the or­gan­i­sa­tions rec­om­mended for co­op­er­a­tive projects may con­clude sep­a­rate agree­ments (con­tracts) be­tween them to im­ple­ment the spe­cific projects.

●●the Mou will come into ef­fect from the date of sig­na­ture by both sides and will be ini­tially valid for a pe­riod of five years and would be au­to­mat­i­cally ex­tend­able for fur­ther suc­ces­sive five year at a time. the pro­vi­sions of the Mou are ex­pected to pro­vide de­sired im­pe­tus and boost to the In­dian Gov­ern­ment’s flag­ship ini­tia­tive of ‘Make in In­dia’ in the ship­build­ing sec­tor. This pol­icy ini­tia­tive flows out of the over­all um­brella of the ‘Spe­cial Strate­gic Part­ner­ship’ seeded through the Joint State­ment made by the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia and the for­mer Pres­i­dent of South Korea, dur­ing the for­mer’s visit to Seoul dur­ing May 2015.towards im­ple­men­ta­tion of the long-term vi­sion on the Spe­cial Strate­gic Part­ner­ship, the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity had ac­corded its ap­proval for the Mou and nom­i­nated the Hin­dus­tan Ship­yard Limited (HSL) in Visakha­p­at­nam from the In­dian side for the col­lab­o­ra­tion. In con­so­nance, the Gov­ern­ment of South Korea is em­pow­ered to nom­i­nate a ship­build­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion on their side for the said col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Hin­dus­tan Ship­yard Limited

the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia un­der the said MoU has au­tho­rised build­ing of five Fleet Sup­port Ships (FSS) at an es­ti­mated cost of 10,000 crore (about $1.56 bil­lion). these FSS will re­plen­ish am­mu­ni­tion, fuel, food and sup­plies to In­dian Navy’s (IN) ships and fleets de­puted for over­seas de­ploy­ments far away from its base ports. As per avail­able re­ports South Korea has de­sired to build the first FSS in their own coun­try and the bal­ance four to be con­structed at HSL, whereas the In­dian side wishes to build all of five FSS at HSL.

the most vi­tal as­pect of the Mou is the agree­ment for Seoul to nom­i­nate a South Korean ship­yard to up­grade and mod­ernise the in­fra­struc­ture and an­cil­lary fa­cil­i­ties at HSL for the ship­yard to ex­e­cute the naval war­ship build­ing projects in an ef­fi­cient, timely and cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner. HSL would be able to im­bibe the best prac­tices in ship­build­ing lead­ing to ef­fec­tive project man­age­ment. this im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment will be a shot in the arm of HSL, a pub­lic sec­tor en­tity which was trans­formed as the ‘de­fence Ship­yard’ in Fe­bru­ary 2010. Post its mod­erni­sa­tion and up­grades HSL will be ex­pected to win the high-value or­ders which will even­tu­ally place it on a firm fi­nan­cial foot­ing.

op­ti­mism on the turn­around of HSL was ev­i­dent when in a re­cent claim by rear Ad­mi­ral Sarat Babu (retd), Chair­man & Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of HSL, said af­ter years in the red that HSL would, for the first time, make an op­er­at­ing profit of Rs 30 crore, on a turnover of 625 crore in 2016-17.

It is re­ported that HSL would en­ter into part­ner­ship agree­ment to build the FSS with a glob­ally renowned South Korean ship­yard, prob­a­bly part of Hyundai Heavy In­dus­tries. In­ter­est­ingly, the FSS or­der will be the sec­ond co­op­er­a­tive project be­tween HSL and a South Korean ship­yard. In the early 1990s, HSL and Korea tacoma co­op­er­ated to build seven off­shore pa­trol ves­sels (oPVs) of Sukanya class. First three of these oPVs were built in South Korea and the bal­ance four at HSL, and all oPVs are still in ser­vice. one of the oPVs built at HSL, INS Sarayu, was sold to the Sri Lankan Navy, where it con­tin­ues to per­form the role of flag­ship and is rechris­tened as SLN Sayura.

Mod­erni­sa­tion and up­grad­ing of in­fra­struc­ture will cer­tainly pave way for the ship­yard to un­der­take con­struc­tion of dif­fer­ent classes of war­ships and sub­marines. the strate­gic lo­ca­tion of HSL on the eastern seaboard of In­dia makes it em­i­nently suit­able to build lethal plat­forms for the In­dian Navy to sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute towards its force struc­tur­ing. the mod­erni­sa­tion of HSL is sig­nif­i­cant as it holds prom­ises of new vis­tas for HSL to emerge as a fourth po­tent de­fence Ship­yard of the coun­try.

Mine Coun­ter­mea­sure Ves­sels

In ad­di­tion to the above project, Kang­nam Cor­po­ra­tion of South Korea is slated to pro­vide con­sul­tancy, de­sign and tech­no­log­i­cal as­sis­tance to In­dia’s pub­lic sec­tor de­fence ship­yard, Goa Ship­yard Limited (GSL) in build­ing 12 MCMVs. the avail­able re­ports sug­gest that this deal be­tween and Kang­nam Cor­po­ra­tion could be con­cluded by fourth quar­ter of this year.

the MCMV project en­vis­ages con­struc­tion of 12 ves­sels at GSL in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bu­san, South Korea-based Kang­nam Cor­po­ra­tion un­der the ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive at a cost of 32,000 crore (about $5bil­lion). though the deal was sup­posed to be closed last year, dis­cus­sions on tech­nol­ogy trans­fer to In­dia caused some de­lays.

Com­ment­ing upon the progress of the be­lea­guered project, rear Ad­mi­ral Shekhar Mit­tal (retd), Chair­man & Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of GSL, has said, “We are work­ing hard to con­clude the con­tract this fi­nan­cial year. tech­nol­ogy trans­fer is a com­plex is­sue and both sides have to be sat­is­fied. Iron­ing out the de­tails took some time.” un­til now, the GSL has spent rs 800 crore on scal­ing up in­fra­struc­ture to com­mence con­struc­tion of MCMVs. Fa­cil­i­ties are be­ing cre­ated for build­ing glass-re­in­forced plas­tic hulls, a de­sign that re­duces the ship’s mag­netic sig­na­ture and al­lows safer nav­i­ga­tion through mine in­fested wa­ters.

All 12 ves­sels will be con­structed in In­dia, and are ex­pected to have 60 per cent in­dige­nous con­tent. the con­struc­tion of the first ves­sel is ex­pected to be­gin in April 2018, and de­liv­er­ies will be com­pleted be­tween 2021 and 2026. the minesweep­ers will have a dis­place­ment of 800 tonnes to 1,000 tonnes. the In­dian Navy needs to fill wide gaps in its mine war­fare ca­pa­bil­ity. Its present MCMV force con­sists of six ves­sels which were ac­quired from the erst­while Soviet union in the late 1970s. to build a cred­i­ble MCMV force it is es­ti­mated that In­dian Navy would re­quire 24 minesweep­ers.

Mines are de­ployed to limit the en­emy’s abil­ity to use the sea. these un­der­wa­ter weapons can det­o­nate on con­tact, or be ac­ti­vated by mag­netic and acous­tic sig­na­tures. Minesweep­ers are used to keep sea lanes mine-free and de­stroy mine­fields near en­emy shores while un­der­tak­ing of­fen­sive ac­tion.

Af­ter scrap­ping an ear­lier ten­der to im­port minesweep­ers due to al­leged ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia nom­i­nated GSL in Fe­bru­ary 2015 to con­struct MCMVs in part­ner­ship with a for­eign ship­yard for giv­ing an im­pe­tus to the ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gramme.

Self-Pro­pelled Field Guns

In ad­di­tion to two projects on the naval side, L&t of In­dia has re­cently signed a con­tract with Han­wha tech­win of South Korea for jointly build­ing in In­dia 100 self-pro­pelled ar­tillery guns, worth 5,000 crore (about $0.78 bil­lion).

the K-9 Va­jra-t gun that L&t and Han­wha tech­win will build to­gether is a 155mm, 52- cal­i­bre gun, mounted on a tracked, ar­moured ve­hi­cle. Ar­tillery units equipped with this highly mo­bile gun will be a part of the In­dian Army’s strike corps, whose tank spear­heads need ar­tillery guns that can keep pace with them.

Jayant Patil, Chief of L&t’s de­fence Busi­ness, has re­cently stated, “L&t plans to be­gin pro­duc­tion of this vi­tal weapon sys­tem at its Strate­gic Sys­tems Com­plex at tale­gaon, near Pune in Ma­ha­rash­tra, and de­liver the first batch of 10 guns. L&T also has ini­ti­ated set­ting up of a green­field man­u­fac­tur­ing line at Hazira, Gu­jarat, in­te­gral with a state-of-the-art test track, to pro­duce, test and qual­ify the K9 Va­jrat guns.” L&t has also com­mit­ted that it would not just build the Va­jra-t guns in In­dia, with over 50 per cent in­dige­nous con­tent, but also pro­vide the Army through life sup­port.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: PIB

A. K. Gupta, Sec­re­tary (De­fence Pro­duc­tion) and Chang My­oung-Jin, Min­is­ter of De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion and Pro­gramme Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Repub­lic of Korea, ex­chang­ing an In­ter-Govern­men­tal MoU for De­fence In­dus­try Co­op­er­a­tion in Ship­build­ing, in New Delhi on April 21, 2017

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