Wednesday, May 29, 2024

US-India Maritime Accord: Larsen & Toubro’s Kattupalli Dock Anchors Historic Role As American Naval Repair Hub

By Staff Correspondent

Larsen & Toubro’s Kattupalli Shipyard, an Indian multinational’s facility near Chennai, has inked a landmark five-year Master Shipyard Repair Agreement (MSRA) with the United States. The accord allows the shipyard to serve as the primary repair hub for American naval ships, marking an important step in the development of India-US relations.

This agreement, the first of its kind in India for American naval ships, results directly from discussions during the 2022 US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The deal stands as evidence of the increasing importance of India’s shipyard capabilities within the international naval scene.

US Consul General in Chennai, Judith Ravin, recognised the significance of the MSRA, calling it another stepping stone in the growing US-India partnership. This alliance is expected to contribute positively to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The agreement, demonstrating the US’s commitment to regularly utilising India’s ship repair facilities, is regarded as a significant advancement for India. L&T Defence’s executive vice-president & head, A.T. Ramchandani, stated that the deal underscores global acknowledgment of India’s top-tier facilities and capabilities for ship repairs and refits.

The MSRA facilitates US contracting processes for repair work, aiding in the expedited delivery of services. For India, it aligns with its domestic production and logistics objectives. In line with the agreement, the USNS Salvor arrived at the Kattupalli shipyard on Sunday for repairs.

The MSRA, a non-binding arrangement, allows for pre-approved shipyards to service US naval vessels after passing a stringent vetting process. This process includes requirements such as a 55% or higher completion rate of a vessel’s work package, ownership of facilities, and a demonstrated safe working environment.

The agreement further supports the Indian government’s thrust towards self-reliance, termed ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, and the development of domestic defence shipyards. Last year, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh acknowledged the central role of India’s defence shipyards in strengthening the nation’s Navy and Coast Guard. The minister also encouraged Indian shipyards to leverage governmental initiatives to establish the country as a hub for indigenous shipbuilding.

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