France pulls out from India's P-75I Project

Tags: National International Relations Defence

Ahead of Modi's scheduled visit to France, French defence major Naval Group has announced that it is unable to participate in the P-75 India (P-75I) project, which seeks to build six conventional submarines in India for the Indian Navy.

Why did France pull out?

  • The French firm pulled out of the project as it could not fulfil the conditions of the Request for Proposal (RFI) placed by the Indian Navy.

  • Request for Proposal (RFP) requires that the fuel cell be AIP Sea Proven, which is difficult for India as the French Navy does not use such a propulsion system.

  • AIP refers to Air-Independent Propulsion.

  • AIP technology allows a conventional submarine to remain submerged for much longer than ordinary diesel-electric submarines.

  • India wants AIP technology as none of its existing ships have it while Pakistan and China both have AIP-equipped submarines.

  • What is Project 75?

  • In June 1999, the Cabinet Committee on Security had approved a plan for the Indian Navy to indigenously build submarines by 2030. 

  • Under the first phase of the P-75 in 2005, India and France signed a $3.75 billion contract to build six Scorpene-class submarines.

  • The executing company on the Indian side was Mazagon Docks Limited, and on the French side was DCNS, now called Naval Group.

  • The first submarine under the project was commissioned in December 2017.

  • Thereafter, another five were built and on 20 April, INS Vagsheer was launched which will be commissioned by 2023.

  • What is P-75I?

  • The Project 75I-class submarine is a follow-up to the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarine for the Indian Navy.

  • In the late 1990s, at the time of the Kargil War, a three-decade plan for indigenous construction of submarines took shape.

  • This is known as Project 75 and Project 75I, two separate series of submarine building lines in collaboration with foreign entities.

  • Under this project, the Indian Navy intends to acquire six diesel-electric submarines, which will also include advanced air-independent propulsion systems.

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