India is within days of closing a two-billion-dollar deal under which its navy will buy six French Scorpene submarines, a senior naval official said March 22.
“It is about to get through,” the vice-chief of naval staff Yashwant Prasad told reporters, of the deal aimed at plugging a hole in India’s conventional military capability. “It should be through in the next coming days.”
A source in the prime minister’s office said the deal was on the agenda of the next security cabinet meeting next week.
The deal, which has been on the table for several years, provides for the sale of six Scorpene-class submarines and technology transfer that will allow the subs to be manufactured under license in India.
The “final approval” for the project, under which the Scorpenes will be manufactured at Mazagaon Docks off the western city of Bombay, was discussed when French chief of defense staff General Henri Bentegeat visited here this month, a naval official said.
Once the Scorpene deal gets the go-ahead, it will be at least six years before the first submarine is ready for induction, the official said.
By then, some of the older boats in the country’s fleet of 16 diesel-electric submarines will be up for decommissioning, he added.