Cochin Shipyard (CSL) is set to sign contracts worth Rs54bn ($777m) with the Indian Navy for constructing eight Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) corvettes.
The first of the ASW corvettes will be delivered in 42 months, followed by two vessels per year.
CSL chairman and managing director Madhu Nair told The New Indian Express: “Right now, we have a balanced work in aircraft vessels, two 500-seater passenger vessels and another two 1,200-seater passenger vessels. We are also building a sophisticated vessel for the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation).”
He added: “As for future, we are expected to sign contracts worth Rs 54bn for building eight ASW corvettes for the Navy. We have become L1 (lowest bidder) and there is a process to go through. We expect to sign the contracts soon. In ship repair, we expect to pick up orders worth Rs6bn on a yearly basis.”
The contracts will be in addition to the regular orders that CSL received from Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and for other small fishing vessels.
CSL is looking for more major contracts.
Nair added: “We are definitely expecting something from the Navy and are also working towards other commercial interests in India and abroad. Moving forward is not easy. We need clearances from the government.”
Meanwhile, with a view to counter the increasing presence of the Chinese Navy in the Indo-Pacific region, the Indian Navy will make its new airbase INS Kohasa operational in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, according to news agency ANI.
Planned for inauguration on 24 January, the new airbase in the Indian Navy Air Station (INAS) Kohasa near Diglipur will handle operations of small aircraft and helicopters.
The new base will add to India’s defence capabilities in the region. Currently, the Indian Navy operates Port Blair, Car Nicobar and INS Baaz facilities at the greater Nicobar islands.
India has bolstered its defence presence in the Andaman and Nicobar islands near the Strait of Malacca.
This strait witnesses passage of 70% of merchant vessels and is considered important by the Indian Navy to boost its control in the Indian Ocean region.