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Germany seeks joint arms production, submarine deal with India as Indo-Pacific becomes global hotspot

The HDW Class 212A is considered as a pinnacle of German submarine technology (Representational photo courtesy: Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems)

Concerned about China’s geostrategic striving for supremacy, which is challenging the other neighbouring countries, India and Germany on Tuesday vowed to further solidify their strategic partnership that could include a possible deal to jointly manufacture six conventional submarines for the Indian Navy.

As he met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, German Federal Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius called India a “strategically reliable partner” which should be treated at par with Australia and Japan when it comes to arms exports.

Besides announcing a joint exercise with the German Navy in the coming year, Pistorius also hinted at Thyssen-Krupp Maritime Systems (TKMS) based on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast being in the running to supply six submarines for the Indian Navy in a deal worth six billion Euros.

“We talked about a concrete cooperation in military procurement. That could be six submarines from TKMS. That could be a flagship project,” the German media quoted the country’s defence minister as saying after the meeting with his Indian counterpart.

Interestingly, Pistorius is travelling to Mumbai next, where he is scheduled to visit the Headquarters of the Western Naval Command and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited.

India Germany Submarine
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with the German Federal Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius in New Delhi on Tuesday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@BMVg_Bundeswehr)

Singh, on the other hand, 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.

He mentioned 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.

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

Under its resolve to become a completely self-reliant, combat-ready, credible, cohesive and future-proof force until 2047, Indian Navy is going ahead full steam with its mission to have ‘Made in India’ ships, submarines, aircraft, unmanned vessels and systems.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
A file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin (Image courtesy: PIB)

Senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, including Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan also attended the delegation-level talks which reviewed the ongoing bilateral defence cooperation activities and explored ways to enhance the collaboration, particularly defence industrial partnership.

Pistorius is the first German Defence Minister to visit India since 2015 and the first in many years to take part in the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last week, the Indo-Pacific counterpart to the Munich Security Conference.

The Pistorius-Singh meeting took place less than 24 hours after India and the United States finalised a new roadmap for defence industrial cooperation during the US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to the Indian capital, showcasing India’s immense geopolitical clout.

Berlin is concerned with the increasing Chinese belligerence in the Indo-Pacific and has a strategic interest in free sea routes as more than 20 per cent of German trade is with countries in the region.

Also Read: US backs India’s leading role as net security provider in Indo-Pacific, promises cutting-edge defence technologies