India, Germany explore ways for joint development of military platforms

New Delhi:┬áIndia and Germany on Tuesday explored ways to co-develop key military platforms with German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius showing keen interest in New Delhi’s mega plan to procure six stealth conventional submarines at a cost of around Rs 43,000 crore.

In his talks with Pistorius, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stressed that India and Germany could build a “more symbiotic” defence relationship based on shared goals and complementarity of strength and invited German investments in defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The two defence ministers also reviewed regional security situations including China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific and other regions, officials said.

Pistorius arrived in Delhi on Monday on a four-day visit to India. It is the first visit of a German defence minister to India since 2015.

The defence ministry said the Indian defence industry could participate in the supply chains of the German defence industry and add value to the ecosystem, besides contributing to supply chain resilience.

It is learnt that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its implications on the world figured in the talks.

The officials said India’s plan to procure six stealth conventional submarines at a cost of around Rs 43,000 crore figured in the talks and Pistorius showed Germany’s interest in the project.

One of the contenders of the contract is Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).

In June 2021, the defence ministry cleared the mega project to domestically build six conventional submarines for the Indian Navy.

The submarines will be built under the much-talked-about strategic partnership model that allows domestic defence manufacturers to join hands with leading foreign defence majors to produce high-end military platforms to reduce import dependence.

Before travelling to India from Indonesia, Pistorius told German’s state-owned broadcaster DW that India’s continuing reliance on Russian weapons is not in Germany’s interest.

The defence ministry said both the ministers reviewed the ongoing bilateral defence cooperation activities and explored ways to enhance the collaboration, particularly the defence industrial partnership.

“The defence minister highlighted the opportunities that have opened up in the defence production sector, including the possibilities for German investments in the two defence industrial corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,” it said.

“The Indian defence industry could participate in the supply chains of the German defence industry and add value to the ecosystem, besides contributing to supply chain resilience,” it said.

The ministry said Singh stressed that India and Germany could build a more “symbiotic relationship” based on shared goals and complementarity of strength, namely skilled workforce and competitive costs from India and high technologies and investment from Germany.

India and Germany have had a strategic partnership since 2000, which has been strengthened through inter-governmental consultations since 2011 at the level of heads of government.

Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan were part of the Indian delegation.

From the German side, State Secretary from Ministry of Defence Benedikt Zimmer, apart from several other senior officials joined Pistorius.

Ahead of the talks, the German defence minister was accorded a tri-service guard of honour.

Pistorius is scheduled to travel to Mumbai on Wednesday where he is slated to visit the headquarters of the Western Naval Command and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited.