As its submarine fleet ages rapidly, the Indian Navy is awaiting approval from the government to embark on a Rs.100 billion ($2.3 billion) project to indigenously build the French Scorpene-class submarines.
"We are currently awaiting clearance from the cabinet for the project. We hope the government will take the best decision very soon," said Vice Admiral Parvesh Jaitley, Chief of Materials of the Indian Navy.
"This is a substantial amount and we want to spend the money on the entire project by improving our infrastructure through modernisation of shipyards, equipment purchases and transfer of technology," Jaitley said on the sidelines of an event to launch a new vessel here Tuesday.
"The Scorpene project is our immediate plan," he said, noting the navy had also ordered 21 new ships with various shipyards in the country, including 11 at Kolkata's Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE).
"We have plans to induct more mine counter-measures vessels, fleet tankers and offshore patrol vessels, besides follow-on orders for (the Trinkat-class) of fast attack craft," said Jaitley.
All new vessels would be indigenously built but whenever technology was not available within the country, the navy will "endeavour to get into collaborative arrangements for transfer of technology".
"We want to develop indigenous strength in shipbuilding," he said.