Indian Navy Supports Local Shipbuilding
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Indian Navy Supports Local Shipbuilding


Indian Navy Supports Local Shipbuilding

The recent commissioning of the INS Beas was a moment of pride for Indian shipbuilding. The Navy decided to build, rather than buy, its warships when its budget was drastically cut in 1962. It started off with small seaward defence boats, buying designs abroad and building them in India. Meanwhile, the Navy's designers were also learning, and the result is the INS Beas, designed and built almost entirely in India.

At present 23 major warships are under construction in India, from the 250 tonnes Fast Attack Craft to a 35,000 tonnes aircraft carrier. It's not just one shipyard that produces frigate-sized battleships. Along with the Magazon Docks in Mumbai, the Garden Reach shipyard in Kolkata has also adequate capabilities.

The Navy needs five new ships a year to maintain its strength at 140 ships, while India's two defence shipyards produce just three ships a year. Thus, the Navy can barely hide its impatience with what it considers inefficient government dockyards, which could block its vision of a strategic outreach across the Indian Ocean. The lack of long-term planning is seen as a serious problem. A warship conceived today takes a decade to come into service. The warships needed in 2015 should be designed this year, and funds made available each year along the way. But the Navy's long-term planning draws no funding support from the Ministry of Defence. As a result, the defence shipyards get no advance warning of what projects are coming their way.  

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