Per reports, Kattupalli Shipyard of Larsen & Toubro, located close to the Indian city of Chennai, has become the first Master Shipyard in India for the military ships of the U.S.
The development came after the company signed a 5-year Master Shipyard Repair Agreement, MSRA, with the U.S. to handle the repair and maintenance requirements of U.S. warships in India.
According to the U.S. Consul General in Chennai, Judith Ravin, the deal was a consequence of the 2022 US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in which the need to utilise Indian shipyards and naval architecture by the U.S. was discussed.
Ravin stated that MSRA was another milestone in the ‘ever-expanding’ partnership between the United States and India. It would strengthen their relationship further and also aid in creating a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Ravin also mentioned that the agreement would assist the U.S. in accelerating its contracting procedures for repair and help India by advancing its logistics and indigenous production aims.
The Pact portrays the commitment of the U.S. to relying on India, using its maintenance facilities, that would also benefit India, he concluded.
A.T. Ramchandani, executive vice-president & head of L&T Defence, stated that the agreement is evidence of their unmatched capabilities and offers them global recognition as a provider of quality ship repairs and refits.
‘We are happy to be of service to the U.S. Navy and the Military Sealift Command,’ he added.
Another statement from an L&T official mentioned that Kattupalli Shipyard is one of the finest modern shipbuilding and ship repair facilities in the region, equipped with a heavy-ship lift, multiple dry-berths and wet-berths to enable smooth and hassle-free shipbuilding and ship repair operations.
Recently, the USNS Salvor, a U.S. Navy Ship that performs various tasks like salvage, towing, diving, offshore firefighting, heavy-lifts, and theatre security cooperation tasks, docked at the Kattupalli Shipard on Sunday for undergoing repair work, as per the agreement.
Regarding MSRA, Ravin said it is a legally non-binding arrangement between the American Navy and private shipbuilding contractors to pre-approve shipyards for repairing and maintaining U.S. Naval ships.
It consists of a rigorous vetting procedure. A contractor should be able to complete 55% or more of the work package of a ship, have its own facilities, use its own shops and workforce, have a record of safe working environment and provide adequate oversight of the repair work.
The signing of these agreements aligns with the Indian Government’s push for its defence shipyards as part of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant India.
Last year in December, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh stated that India’s defence shipyards had a crucial role in strengthening the nation’s Navy and the Coast Guard.
After he commissioned the Indian Navy vessel INS Mormugao in Mumbai, he said, “In this era of globalisation, almost all nations are dependent on each other in the field of trade. Hence, rule-based freedom of navigation, security of sea lanes etc., have become more important than ever for stability and economic progress of the world.”
The defence minister had also encouraged the shipyards to take advantage of the government’s initiatives to make India “an indigenous shipbuilding hub”.
References: theprint, thehindu
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