India is reportedly terminating the long-pending deal to purchase South Korean mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs), as part of efforts to bolster its fleet of warships with the potential to detonate sea mines.
A final decision to cancel the original $436m minesweepers procurement deal with South Korean firm Kangnam, which was signed in October 2011, may take place 'in the next few days', according to sources. However, the Indian Government plans to issue a fresh tender for MCMVs soon.
The South Korean MCMVs are highly specialised small warships, designed to detect, track and destroy enemy mines.
The Indian defence public sector undertaking (PSU) Goa Shipyard (GSL) will be nominated for the construction of eight vessels, with support from foreign organisations.
An undisclosed source was quoted by the Times of India as saying: "Under the new tender or RFP (request for proposal), all the eight MCMVs will now be built in India by GSL.
"The defence shipyard will tie up with a foreign collaborator, which can include Kangnam since it's not being blacklisted."
As part of the previous deal, two MCMVs and a transfer of technology were to be procured from Kangnam for $436m, with Goa Shipyard responsible for an additional six vessels for more than $970m.
The first vessel was expected to be delivered by 2016, with the others running through to 2018.
Currently, the Indian Navy has seven Karwar and Pondicherry-class minesweepers for the Eastern and the Western seaboard. It needs 24 to deliver the required defence.