The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared a major project to build six new conventional submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of about approximately $5.88bn (Rs430bn).

DAC is the Indian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) highest decision-making body on procurement.

The council approved issue of request for proposal (RFP) for submarine construction under the navy’s Project P 75 (I).

These submarines will be constructed under the MoD’s strategic partnership (SP) model that seeks to strengthen the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

This initiative has been introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India self-reliant and increase domestic defence manufacturing in the country.

Under the SP model, an Indian Strategic Partner will tie up with foreign original equipment manufacturer to establish production facilities in the country for indigenously manufacturing defence systems.

Indian MoD said in a press statement: “With accord of this approval, the country will be enabled to achieve its 30-year Submarine construction programme envisioned by the Government to acquire national competence in submarine construction and for the Indian industry to independently design and construct submarines in India.”

According to the ministry, the latest project under SP Model provides a ‘long-term opportunity and planning certainty’ for the defence industry to support and incest in submarine construction.

The approval also involves introduction of advanced technology and weaponry for Indian submarines through strategic partnership between Indian Industry and leading foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

In June 2019, the Indian Government issued an expression of interest (EoI) to identify interested domestic companies to build six conventional submarines under Project 75-I.