The US Navy’s Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship, USNS Charles Drew, has arrived to undergo maintenance works at an Indian shipyard.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that it is the first time a US Navy vessel will receive maintenance and repair services in India.

US Consul General Chennai Judith Ravin said: “In April, at the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin affirmed their intention to explore utilising Indian shipyards for repairs on US Navy vessels.

“This inaugural repair of USNS Charles Drew is a landmark development to be celebrated as a symbol of our strengthened US-India partnership.”

Under a contract awarded by the US Navy, L&T will carry out the repair and maintenance work at its Kattupalli shipyard in Chennai, India.

The shipyard will perform work in various areas for a period of 11 days.

L&T Defence and Smart Technologies executive council member and CEO advisor JD Patil said: “The of the US Navy had undertaken rigorous evaluation of select shipyards in India and cleared L&T for undertaking repairs on their vessels.

“It is a recognition for the modern infrastructure at the shipyard built to global standards.”

According to Indian MoD, the Indian shipyards provide a variety of cost-effective ship repair and maintenance services, using advanced maritime technology platforms.

This move will strengthen the strategic partnership between India and the US. It will also boost the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives.