Germany’s Thyssenkrupp AG and Indian defence PSU Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) is likely to come together to jointly bid for a project to supply six conventional submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of ₹40,000 crore.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius will visit MDL facility in Mumbai on Wednesday where the deal with Thyssenkrupp AG is most likely to be signed, said sources. The move appears to have taken shape after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his visiting German counterpart Boris Pistorius to review the ongoing bilateral defence co-operation activities and explored ways to enhance military industrial partnership.

Military procurement

“We talked about a concrete co-operation in military procurement. That could be six submarines from TKMS (Thyssenkrupp marine arm),” Pistorius told a foreign news agency. “That could be a lighthouse project,” he commented. He also told other foreign journalists, though the process of acquisition is not complete, German industry is at a good place in that race.

On July 20, 2021, the Ministry of Defence issued request of proposal to shortlisted strategic partners, which were Indian applicant companies like MDL and M/s Larsen & Tubro for construction of six conventional submarines. Germans have been pushing for submarine deal for long, but the bidding outcome will decide who gets the contract.

Rajnath Singh, meanwhile, described his meeting with Boris Pistorius as “fruitful” and stated, “We discussed regional issues and our shared priorities.” Commending Pistorius’ passion for Yoga, Singh tweeted, “We also agreed to further strengthen defence co-operation between India & Germany”.

Highlighting opportunities

Singh during his engagement with Pistorius highlighted the opportunities that have opened up in the defence production sector, including the possibilities for German investments in the two Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the MoD said in an official statement.

The Indian defence industry could participate in the supply chains of German defence industry and add value to the ecosystem, besides contributing to supply chain resilience, the Ministry pointed out.

Singh stressed that “India and Germany could build a more symbiotic relationship based on shared goals and complementarity of strength, namely skilled workforce and competitive costs from India and high technologies and investment from Germany”.

Later German Defence Minister attended an event of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) start-ups at Research & Innovation Park, IIT Delhi. He was showcased game-changing technologies by Indian start-ups on augmented reality/virtual reality, energy systems, smart drones and anti-drone systems, space propulsion systems and other allied technologies, the MoD stated.

India and Germany have a strategic partnership since 2000, which is being strengthened through Inter-Governmental consultations since 2011 at the level of heads of government.