By Staff Correspondent
A United States Navy replenishment ship, USNS Matthew Perry, arrived for repairs at Larsen & Toubro’s (L&T) Kattupalli shipyard in Chennai, India, on March 11. This marks the second time a US Navy vessel had docked at the Indian shipyard for repairs, following a similar instance in August 2022 when the dry cargo ship Charles Drew underwent minor repairs for over 11 days.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar announced that the USNS Matthew Perry will undergo repairs from March 11 to 29. He also noted that India’s indigenous shipbuilding industry has been boosted by the increasing utilisation of Indian shipyards and naval dockyards by friendly foreign countries for repair and refit of their platforms, adding that there is an opportunity for India to eventually undertake major repairs and refit and position itself as a hub in the region.
The India-US 2+2 meeting in April 2022 resulted in both countries agreeing to explore the potential of using Indian shipyards to repair and maintain ships from the US Maritime Sealift Command to support mid-voyage repair of US Naval ships.
Furthermore, military and security cooperation between India and the US has deepened significantly over the last few decades, with India recently signing all foundational agreements and acquiring military hardware and platforms from the US.
The recently released Economic Survey 2022-23 highlighted the Navy’s contribution to shipbuilding, stating that every rupee spent on shipbuilding triggers circulation of ₹1.82 in the economy. Adm. Kumar added that as of March 14, 41 out of the total 43 ships and submarines ordered by the Navy are being constructed in Indian shipyards.
He noted that “You cannot buy a Navy, you have to build it,” and highlighted that the Navy’s current order book worth ₹1.5 lakh crore will result in the circulation of nearly ₹2.73 lakh crore in the shipbuilding sector as a whole.
Adm. Kumar also highlighted the employment opportunities generated by the construction of the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, stating that close to 2,000 shipyards and 13,000 non-yard personnel were employed annually towards its construction, proving the estimated shipbuilding employment multiplier effect of 6.4.