With the growing activities of international pirates off the Gulf of Aden driving up the costs of freight and shipping, the Indian government has taken a significant step to ensure the safety of international shipping lanes. In a recent development, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL), Mumbai, for the acquisition of 14 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
Building Naval Power for a Secure Indo-Pacific
- Over the last two decades, the Indian Navy has assumed the role of a “net security provider” in the Indian Ocean, aiming to maintain a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and counterbalance China’s expanding naval presence.
- Recognizing the critical need for maritime security, the government invests in constructing armed vessels to ensure an effective role in safeguarding international shipping lanes and countering threats in the Indian Ocean.
- The recent contract with MDL, valued at Rs 1,070 crore, focuses on indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured FPVs under the ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ acquisition category.
- The vessels are expected to be delivered within 63 months, equipped with advanced features, multipurpose drones, wirelessly controlled remote water rescue craft, lifebuoy, and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Multi-Role Fast Patrol Vessels: Strengthening India’s Maritime Defenses
- The MoD underscores the essential role of FPVs in diverse challenges: fisheries protection, control, anti-smuggling, shallow water search and rescue, distressed ship assistance, towing, marine pollution response, and anti-piracy operations.
- Emphasizing modern features, MoD states, ‘Multi-role FPVs play a critical role in enhancing fisheries protection, anti-smuggling, search and rescue, marine pollution response, and anti-piracy operations, ensuring effective control, surveillance, and assistance in diverse maritime challenges.
Atmanirbhar Bharat: Fostering Indigenous Shipbuilding Capabilities
- Aligned with the government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or ‘self-reliant India’ policy, the contract aims to strengthen the nation’s indigenous shipbuilding capabilities.
- The MoD anticipates that this initiative will not only enhance maritime security but also boost maritime economic activities and contribute to the growth of ancillary industries, especially in the MSME sector.
Ammunition Cum Torpedo Cum Missile Barges: Enhancing Naval Logistics
- In addition to the FPVs, the government has also taken steps to fortify the logistical and operational capabilities of the Indian Navy.
- The launch of the fifth “Ammunition Cum Torpedo Cum Missile Barge” at the MSME shipyard Suryadipta Projects Pvt Ltd, Thane, marks progress in this direction.
- MoD signed a contract on March 5, 2021, with Suryadipta Projects for 11 crucial barges. These support navy operations by transporting, embarking, and disembarking articles and ammunition in harbor.
- The move signifies a comprehensive approach to strengthening India’s maritime defense infrastructure, ensuring preparedness in the face of evolving challenges.
Important Questions Related to Exams
1. Under which acquisition category are the Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) being built by MDL?
2. How long is the expected delivery timeline for the 14 FPVs as per the contract?
3. What aspect of the MSME sector does the MoD expect to foster through the contract?
Kindly share your responses in the comment section!!