NEW DELHI — After virtually freezing all defense business with Italy, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has begun exploring alternatives to meet its dire weaponry requirements.

In an unexpected move, MoD has dispatched Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar to Germany to actively participate in the 10th annual India-German Higher Defense Committee Meeting, according to an MoD source. The event began June 13 and concludes Wednesday.

"We are exploring averting — from torpedoes, network-centric capabilities, naval gun solutions to submarines — with Germany," the source said. "We will only know the outcome when Kumar returns later this week."

The source said India could either buy weaponry from Germany through a government-to-government deal or via a single-vendor  source.

MoD spokesman Nitin Wakankar confirmed to Defense News earlier this month that the ministry had decided to cancel a more than $200 million deal with WASS, a subsidiary of Leonardo-Finmeccanica of Italy, for the purchase of 98 Black Shark torpedoes for Scorpene submarines. The cancellation process is still taking place.

India is instead looking at buying SeaHake torpedoes from Atlas Elektronik of Germany, but details of a potential deal were not made available.

India also wants to buy six conventional submarines with air-independent propulsion technology under the Make in India policy. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany, which produces Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft-class (HDW) submarines, is in talks with India's MoD.

India also procured two and licensed two HDW-class diesel electric submarines in the 1980s.

"In addition, India is also quietly exploring possibilities of building six nuclear submarines with German help at a cost of $10 billion. It is a strategic program and we cannot reveal details," the MoD source said.

India and Germany signed an agreement on bilateral defense cooperation in September 2006. The agreement envisages that the main forum for guiding the defense relations between India and Germany will be the High Defence Committee, which meets once a year.


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