Reliance to build a world class naval platform building facility on the Indian west coast near Vishakhapatnam.

Reliance Defense Ltd is making waves with its aggressive acquisition and expansion plans. The company has set out with a vision to master the complex engineering involved in manufacturing advanced systems that cater to the needs of the armed forces. Reliance Defense Ltd is a subsidiary of the famed Reliance Infrastructure Limited gropus. It has as many as 11 subsidiaries working in various defense oriented segments.

Reliance Defense has set-up partnerships with various leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The company aims to domestically manufacture equipments with not just a know-how clause but a know-why clause. The company is keenly contesting to make its presence felt especially in the marine industry.

Traditionally, Indian Navy has been dependent on state-run Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Cochin Shipyard and the Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) to cater to its need. However the recently introduced ‘Make in India’ initiative has opened up the ship-building arena to private shipyards.

Reliance Defense Ltd has now acquired controlling stakes in the Gujarat based Pipavav Defense & Offshore Engineering Company (PDOC). During the visit of PM Narendra Modi to Russia the company concluded major deals with Russian shipyards to locally manufacture the Talwar class frigates in its shipyard.

pipavav

The acquisition of  Pipavav has given a solid infrastructural base for Reliance to manufacture aircraft carriers, submarines and warships domestically. Indian Navy has a slew of modernization plans and is to induct several combatants to counter the growing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Indian Navy also has plans to induct six state-of-the-art nuclear powered attack submarines.

Reliance has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Andra government to construct a high-tech naval platform building facility 70 kilometres off Vishakhapatnam. The city is also the headquarters of Eastern Naval Command (ENC). The facility will be capable of building aircraft carriers to nuclear powered submarines.

Speaking on the sidelines of CII partnership Summit 2016, Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance groups said “We’ve signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Andhra government to set up a world class naval facility at Rambilli along the East Coast, just 70 kms south of Visakhapatnam. This investment will not only generate thousands of skilled jobs but also lead to the creation of a multi-tier array of defence ancillaries, bringing in further investments of anywhere between Rs 5,000 crore and 10,000 crore.”

Elaborating on why Andra and specifically the Eastern coast he said “Given its (planned site) critical location, from a geo-political and strategic perspective, on the East coast, and its proximity to India’s naval establishment, including the Coast Guard, and BARC, Vizag is ideally suited for the manufacture of strategic assets such as nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, critical areas of naval defence capability where we need to catch up with the rest of the world.”

A view of the Pipavav yard.
A view of the Pipavav yard.

Incidentally Rambilli is extremely close to the site where INS Varsha, India’s new submarine base is supposed to come up. This base is believed to house the nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) being built under the ATV project. Indian navy has a requirement of at least 25 submarines in the near future. The P-75 project is nearing completion and a final result is awaited in regard to the P-75 I project.

Reliance having strong ties with Russia will help India in realizing its quest for minimum deterrence credibility.  Reliance had already tied up with Russian firms to build the nuclear powered submarines domestically. The base will also help India realize its dream run under ‘Make in India’ initiative.

A nuclear submarine under construction.  Image for representation purpose only.
A nuclear submarine under construction.
Image for representation purpose only.

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