The marine division of Thyssenkrupp AG and the Indian Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. intend to jointly build submarines for the Indian Navy, a sign that the country is increasingly expanding its sources of military equipment beyond main supplier Russia.
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems would lead the engineering and design of the vessels if India hands manufacturers an order, while its Indian counterpart will be responsible for construction and local delivery, according to an initial agreement the companies signed on Wednesday.
The move represents a change from two years ago, when the European defense group had not shown interest in jointly manufacturing submarines in India when the tender was announced. India wants to order six diesel-electric submarines at an estimated cost of $5.2 billion.
Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems is the preferred manufacturer for the project.
The Kiel-based company is one of two submarine manufacturers worldwide to offer air-independent propulsion – a technology that enables non-nuclear submarines to stay underwater longer.
Germany wants European defense contractors to step up efforts to supply New Delhi with modern military equipment to help Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government break free from its arms dependence on Russia and act as a bulwark against China’s growing diplomatic and military clout .
Thyssenkrupp-made submarines have historically been used by the Indian Navy, making them a far more attractive choice compared to South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Spain’s state-owned Navantia Group.