A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Paris, where he is scheduled to meet newly re-elected French President Emmanuel Macron, France's Naval Group has said it will not participate in India's P-75I project, under which six conventional submarines are to be domestically built for the Indian Navy, reported PTI.
In June 2021, the Defence Ministry had cleared the P-75I project and subsequently, Requests For Proposals (RFPs) were issued to two shortlisted Indian companies – private company Larsen and Toubro and state-run Mazagaon Docks Limited.
The two Indian companies (called strategic partners) had to tie up with one of the five shortlisted foreign companies. The foreign companies are listed as follows:
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany)
Naval Group (France)
Daewoo (South Korea)
They were to then respond to the RFP, according to the Defence Ministry.
The ₹43,000-crore contract will be awarded by the Defence Ministry following a detailed evaluation of the responses sent by the two strategic partners.
What's Happened Now
On Tuesday, 3 May, Laurent Videau, Country and Managing Director, Naval Group India, said, "Due to certain conditions in the RFP, the two strategic partners could not forward the request to us and few other FOEMs (foreign original equipment manufacturers) and thus we have not been able to place an official bid for the project."
The Stumbling Block
Where did things get stuck?
Laurent Videau from the Naval Group says, "The present RFP requires that the fuel cell AIP (air-independent propulsion) be sea-proven, which is not the case for us yet since the French Navy does not use such propulsion system."
Videau, however, added, "Our focus and efforts are towards the continuation of our collaboration with Indian industry in realising the vision of Government of India by supporting Indian Navy for other future developments and projects."
(With inputs from PTI.)