Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India flagship on Tuesday set out on an ambitious course with South Korean major Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and public sector Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Visakhapatnam, joining hands to build warships. Another Korean firm, Samsung, will be collaborating with Kochi Shipyard to make liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers.
A special team of HHI will visit India soon to meet officials of Hindustan Shipyard Ltd as well as officers of the Indian Navy and others to finalise the details of its foray into naval ship-building and other related areas.
The broader plan agreed upon during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to South Korea entails HHI giving technological assistance and related help in various spheres, making submarines and destroyers included. HHI, which is adept at modular construction in ship-building, would help in bringing down the time frame in the construction of ships besides bringing its high-end technology to its Indian partner.
This would help the Indian Navy in getting its requirements met in a shorter span of time than usual, and all of it made in India, sources said.
For example, if all works to plan, a six-year time frame needed to build certain vessels could be brought down to two-and-a-half years, sources explained. HHI’s ship manufacturing facility in Ulsan is the largest shipyard in the world.
In giving a further fillip to the Make in India initiative, HHI would outsource building of small- and medium-sized ships to India. In future, this venture between HHI and Hindustan Shipyard could also export vessels to other countries. HHI’s world-class technology and experience will be available for logistical development in related areas, including dry docks. A joint working group will work out the final contours of the India-South Korea collaboration in making of ships and LNG tankers.
“Ship-building is a top priority for us,” Modi told Choi Kil-seon, chairman of Hyundai Heavy Industries. The Prime Minister drove over 85km to the HHI headquarters in Ulsan, the cradle of South Korea’s industrialization effort, where he was received by Choi, HHI president Kwon Oh-gap and mayor Kim Gi-hyeon. HHI has undertaken a total of 30 offshore projects for India, beginning with the Mumbai offshore oil platform project in 1982.
Make in India was the flavour of Modi’s day out in South Korea on Tuesday. He had one-on-one meetings with the heads of Hyundai, Samsung Electronics, POSCO and LG. The total worth of the companies Modi interacted with is three quarters of $1 trillion.
Addressing the CEOs in Seoul, Modi outlined the steps taken by his government, which include fast-tracking of approvals in industry and infrastructure, and liberalisation of FDI. “I invite you to India to see the change. We are also prepared to work with you in making conditions more conducive for you,” Modi said in his address to the first meeting of the newly set-up India-South Korea CEOs Forum.