NEW DELHI — Questions raised by the Indian Finance Ministry have delayed the Navy’s quest to procure six additional submarines equipped with air independent propulsion for more than $12 billion.
While the MoD proposal has not been shelved, routine queries have been raised by the Finance Ministry, said MoD sources.
The MoD cleared the procurement more than two years ago but the formal request for proposal has to be floated. Under the initial proposal, cleared by the Defense Acquisition Council in 2010, three of the six submarines are to be constructed at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai while another will be built at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam.
The other two were to be either imported from the foreign collaborator or built by a domestic private shipyard.
The Navy warned the MoD last year of its deteriorating submarine strength, especially at a time when the Chinese Navy is aggressively adding more warships and submarines, said an Indian Navy official.
India has only 14 submarines, down from 21 in the 1980s, and far below China’s sub fleet of about 60, including 10 nuclear submarines.
Only half of India’s 10 kilo-class Russian-made submarines are operational and the four aging HDW-class submarines need to be upgraded, added the official.
Meanwhile, the homemade Arihant nuclear submarine is currently on sea trials and two French Scorpene submarines are more than three years behind schedule.