AFP, NEW DELHI: India's naval chief Madhavendra Singh said Sunday the navy was mulling plans to buy warships from abroad due to a potential shortfall by domestic manufacturers in the next two years.
“If domestic shipyards are not able to give us new ships, we may certainly have to think of getting ships from abroad,” Singh told a press conference in the southern port of Cochin, as quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency.
Singh said India's navy would “certainly shrink in another two to three years” if ageing ships were not replaced quickly.
“We do believe we need a navy of around 200 ships. At the moment we have 147… the fleet strength will go down to 127 soon if ships are decommissioned as per their original life span,” he said.
Singh added that even while inducting 12 Dornier aircraft for short-range patrolling activities the Indian navy was “still on the look out for good long-range” surveillance aircraft.
This month Russia handed over to India the Tabar frigate, the third ship Moscow has built for New Delhi's navy under a one billion-dollar contract signed in 1997. Moscow handed over the two other ships under the contact in
In January, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced in New Delhi that Moscow — after about a decade of negotiations — would sell to India the 44,570-tonne Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier along with 28 MiG-29K maritime fighter jets for some 1.5 billion dollars.
French defence group Thales and naval shipbuilder Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) have also completed negotiations with New Delhi on the building of six Scorpene submarines in India but are awaiting final approval for the two billion-euro (2.37 billion-dollar) deal.
Until now Indian submarines have been made with help from Russia and Germany.
India announced a 250-billion-rupee (5.5-billion-dollar) fund to speed up arms procurements in an interim budget ahead of general elections which are being conducted through May 10.