Sandhu urges shipbuilding industry in India, US to fully utilise bilateral instruments

Washington, Mar 25 (PTI) A top Indian diplomat has urged the shipbuilding industry in India and the US to fully utilise the strategic trade authorisation license exemption granted by Washington to New Delhi, as well as the bilateral Industrial Security Annex Agreement.

Speaking during a webinar, India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said shipyards in India today make some of the most complex ships and submarines. However, for some of the core technologies, India looks up to its friends like the US. The United States has these technologies, however, the high cost of labour does not make it cost-effective.

“There is a strong case for us to work together with the advantage of cutting-edge technology of the US and India’s cost-competitive skilled labour,” he said during his address at a webinar on ‘Shipbuilding Opportunities in India’.

“We urge industries on both sides to make full utilisation of the strategic trade authorisation license exemption granted by the US to India in 2018, as well as the bilateral Industrial Security Annex Agreement signed in 2019. Together we can reach out to the global markets and make for the world,” Sandhu said.

“With our joint efforts we can produce some of the world’s finest and most economical platforms for our partners and friendly nations,” he said.

Organised by the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum in partnership with Mazgaon Dock Ltd, the first ever high-level industry interaction on opportunities for increased US-India collaboration on shipbuilding, repair and maintenance was also addressed by Raj Kumar, secretary of Defence Production in India’s Defence Ministry.

Discussions during the virtual conference focused on greater collaboration between US and Indian industry leaders across defence and commercial shipbuilding sectors.

Representatives from several US companies like Huntington Ingalls Industries, BAE Shipyard, L3 Harris, Lockheed Martin, Cornett Technologies, Telephonics and Geomardy participated in the conference.

The Indian side was represented by CMDs of Mazagon Dock, Cochin Shipyard, Goa Shipyard, L&T Kattupalli, Garden Reach Shipbuilding, Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Chowgule Shipyard and PTCIL.

India in recent years has been increasingly looking to expand its shipbuilding industry. Over 90 per cent of shipbuilding in 2018 took place in China, South Korea and Japan.