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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

India's Scorpene submarine programme delayed

India's controversial Scorpene submarine programme was first hit by technical delays, then it faced allegations of kickbacks, and later a CBI probe. Now, it's confirmed that the Rs 18,000 crore defence deal signed in 2005 will not be available to the Indian Navy before 2014.

"We have had delays due to various reasons. I expect the first submarine to be delivered in four years time. That is 2014 - 2015. That's a delay of 2 - 2/12 years. There were certain issues to be addressed with the government and the owner. These issues have now been sorted out and we are placing orders for various equipments," said Retired Vice Admiral H S Malhi, Chairman and MD, Mazgaon Docks Limited.

The impact of the delay could be serious because by 2012 the Indian Navy will be left with only nine of its 16 submarines; the others would be too old to use.

And that's not all. The makers of the Scorpene, the Mazgaon Docks Limited, say the delivery of the first of the six submarines is dependent on when they get the various equipment they are still to order for. If that is delayed then for the Indian Navy and the country, it's going to be a long and tense wait.