NEW DELHI — India and South Korea inked a memorandum of understanding on Friday in India to cooperate in shipbuilding for military use.
The memorandum was signed by both India's secretary of defence production, Ashok Kumar Gupta, and South Korean Minister of Defense Acquisition Program Administration Chang Myoung-jin in India "for Defence Industry Co-operation in Shipbuilding," according to an Indian Ministry of Defence news release.
India has chosen state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited, or HSL, to cooperate with a shipyard nominated by South Korea.
"The Inter-Governmental MoU, was conceived under the overall umbrella of the 'Special Strategic Partnership' between both sides as declared in the Joint Statement of the Prime Minister of India and the President of [South Korea] in May 2015," the MoD release said.
An MoD official explained that the cooperation is part of the Make in India policy, under which warships will be built at domestic shipyards with South Korea's help.
HSL and the nominated shipyard by South Korea will "identify and develop indigenous sources/vendors for the supply of majority of the material and equipment" for warship building, the ministry said.
HSL has teamed with Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea to build five fleet-support ships costing about $1.5 billion as well as two strategic operating vessels, or midgets, costing about $448 million.
Additional Indo-South Korean deals
In another major shipbuilding project, Kangnam Corporation of South Korea will help India's state-owned Goa Shipyard Limited build 12 mine countermeasures vessels for more than $5.5 billion. Kangnam Corporation will provide consultancy, design and technological assistance to the Indian shipyard for $1 billion.
The consultancy agreement had been held up due to "some procedural matters," the MoD official said, but the issues have "been sorted out."
Earlier in the day, Indian private sector defense major Larsen & Toubro and South Korean defense technology company Hanwha Techwin signed a contract worth about $650 million to manufacture the K9 Vajra-T, a 155mm, 52-caliber self-propelled howitzer for the Indian Army.
The K9 artillery system has already been shortlisted by the Indian Army in a global competition, which will now be build at Indian facilities. However, a formal contract is yet to be awarded by the MoD.
Larsen & Toubro had jointly bid with Samsung Techwin for howitzer order. The Hanwha group had acquired Samsung's stake in Samsung Techwin in November 2014.
Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.