The negotiations between the Indian government and the South Korean Kangnam Corporation to construct 12 advanced minesweepers for the Indian Navy fell through at the last stage, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday. The Rs 32,640-crore project was one of the costliest initiatives of the Centre’s “Make in India” campaign.
“We were unable to resolve commercial complications despite our best efforts,” Rear Admiral Shekhar Mital (retired), the chairperson of the Goa Shipyard Limited, told the daily. The government had cancelled a contract with the Busan-based company in 2014 after there were allegations that it had hired middlemen to win the deal.
Advanced minesweepers are specialised warships that detect, track and destroy underwater mines laid by enemy forces to cut off harbours and wreak havoc on shipping and maritime trade.
The Indian Navy, which began to look for these vessels in July 2005, requires 24 such advanced warships to protect the east and west coasts. It has only four 30-year-old minesweepers at its disposal at present, and these four vessels will be decommissioned between 2018 and 2020, The Times of India reported.
Mital said the Goa shipyard will issue a fresh request to invite proposals from international military contractors for technology transfer for the project. This will be India’s third attempt in a decade to build the advanced minesweepers on its own.