India navy seeks foreign minesweepers for leasing, in second procurement bid

File Photo: Minesweepers, for representational purposes only.

By N. C. Bipindra

New Delhi: In its second effort to procure minesweepers for its navy, India has kick-started the search for a foreign vendor, with sovereign guarantees from their government, for leasing three or four Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs).

The Ministry of Defence issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the leasing of the MCMVs for the Indian Navy from a foreign government or a shipyard backed and/or funded by a foreign government, which would offer sovereign guarantee through government-to-government (G2G) agreement. The bidders have to respond to the RFI by Oct. 7.

“Mine Counter Measure Vessel is capable to locate, classify and neutralise all types of ground and moored mines, mine laying, channel conditioning, route survey, sanitisation, local naval defence, Search and Rescue, MIO (Maritime Interdiction Operations) and VBSS (Visit Board Search and Seize) Ops,” according to the RFI document released on Aug. 13.

“(The) 3-4 MCMVs are proposed to be procured/leased. The anticipated delivery time lines for the first vessel is maximum of 10 months followed by delivery of subsequent vessels every four months.”

The procurement options that India will exercise, with foreign sovreign guarantees, are as follows:

  • Option 1: Procurement of in service/decommissioned MCMVs which can be retrofitted to Indian Navy requirements; and
  • Option 2: Lease of in service/decommissioned MCMVs, which can be retrofitted to Indian Navy requirements for 10 yrs extendable to 15 yrs with an option of acquiring the asset at the end of lease period at a price agreed at the beginning of the lease.

The earlier attempt by the India to obtain foreign technology to build the MCMVs in the state-run Goa Shipyard Limited had to be abandoned in 2018 due to the huge costs of procurement and failed talks with the South Korean Busan-based Kangnam Corporation.

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