Reliance Group’s pact for Rs.5,000 crore naval unit in Vizag

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Visakhapatnam, Jan 10 (IANS) Industrialist Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group signed a pact with the Andhra Pradesh government here on Sunday to set up a naval shipbuilding facility in this strategic port city with an initial investment of Rs.5,000 crore.

The pact was signed at the state’s ongoing Partnership Summit 2016 in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani.

“It is estimated that the Indian Navy will spend over Rs.300,000 crore on acquisitions and fleet modernisation of submarines and aircraft carriers over the next 15 years, creating a huge pipeline of opportunity for the proposed world class naval facility,” Ambani said.

“Our Vizag naval facility will aim to better the best in the world in technology and resources. It will complement our existing facility at Pipavav in Gujarat, with a clear focus on building strategic assets for the Indian navy,” he said, terming it a futuristic venture.

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“At an initial investment outlay of Rs.5,000 crore, it will represent the single largest investment at one location anywhere in Andhra Pradesh,” he said, adding that it will not just generate thousands of skilled jobs but also create the potential for several defence ancillary units.

These, he added, can fetch the state another Rs.10,000 crore in investments.

“The world class naval facility will also help translate ‘Make in India’ into ‘Make in Andhra Pradesh’ and leapfrog the state to the top of the manufacturing revolution in India’s defence sector,” he said.

Ambani said given its location on India’s east coast and its proximity to the country’s naval establishment, Visakhapatnam was ideally suited for the manufacture of strategic assets such as nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers where there was a need to catch up with the world.

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“India can become a regional superpower only its our maritime capabilities are strengthened through vigorous build-up of our surface and sub-surface fleet,” he said.

“The US today has 10 aircraft-carrier groups operating around the world to project its power and protect its interests and on course to add another three, while we have barely one. The US has 72 submarines and China 69, India has a small fleet of 17 submarines,” Ambani said.

“It is the same story other key areas of naval preparedness. The Indian Navy has today just one nuclear submarine on lease compared to China’s dozen. Nearly 90 percent of conventional fleet in the Indian Navy is over 20 years old and due for urgent upgrade and re-fitment,” he said.

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“There is a projected requirement of an additional 23 submarines.”

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