India red-faced as South Korea raises long-pending 'minesweeper'

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    India red-faced as South Korea raises long-pending 'minesweeper' contract

    NEW DELHI: The Posco steel plant imbroglio may have been resolved, but India was left red-faced again on Thursday when South Korea pushed for an early inking of the first-ever major bilateral defence deal that has been hanging fire for almost three years after being virtually finalized.

    South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in fact, later said she had raised the pending export of Korean "minesweepers" to India with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as part of the larger "mutually beneficial cooperation in the defence industry arena" and strategic partnership.

    The joint project for the mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) — small, high-tech warships that detect, track and destroy underwater enemy mines — has been stuck in the Indian defence ministry (MoD) due to its long-winded procurement process, bureaucratic bottlenecks and complaints of irregularities by rival vendors.

    MoD sources say the price negotiation with South Korean company Kangnam Corporation was concluded way back in October 2011, and was also approved by defence minister AK Antony and the finance ministry. Under the plan, India was to acquire two MCMVs and transfer of technology for Rs 2,700 crore from Kangnam, with Goa Shipyard building another six vessels for over Rs 6,000 crore.

    Just as the contract was headed for Cabinet committee on security's final nod, it was put on hold after Italy's Intermarine, one of several contenders defeated in the global tender, and a politician complained to the Central Vigilance Commission and others about irregularities in the selection process.

    Since then, the deal has been cleared by the special technical oversight committee and others, with the Navy also repeatedly responding to all queries. But it remains stuck in bureaucratic red tape, with even the bid submitted by Kangnam lapsing.

    Whether they are South Korean or from some other foreign vendor, the Navy needs MCMVs desperately. It had first got approval for acquisition of eight MCMVs in July 2005 but nothing much has come out of it so far.

    The overall requirement, in fact, is for 24 MCMVs, 16 of them on the western seaboard because most of India's oil and other supplies come from there. But the Navy is grappling with just six Karwar-class and two Pondicherry class of minesweepers as of now, with two of them slated for decommissioning later this year.

    The specialized MCMVs, made of fibre-reinforced plastics to avoid electro-magnetic signatures that activate mines, are used to clear harbour approaches or departure routes as well as offshore installations for shipping activity. Just a few well-placed "smart mines" can, after all, play havoc with ports in Mumbai, Kandla, Kochi and the like.

    The almost 1,000-tonne MCMVs have high-definition sonars as well as acoustic and magnetic sweeps to first detect all kinds of marooned and drifting mines and then use remote-controlled systems like small underwater vehicles to then detonate them at safe distances.

    India red-faced as South Korea raises long-pending 'minesweeper' contract - The Times of India

    the same Rajat Pandit was ranting in another article about india having non indiginious equipment used by our armed forces
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
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  3. prateikf

    prateikf Regular Member

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    Our MOD and defence minister Antony have made our nation a laughing stock in the international arena. Just why float tenders when you have no intention or the ability to buy any?
     
  4. laughingbuddha

    laughingbuddha Regular Member

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    Aren't we woefully short on minesweepers?
     

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