US Navy Ship (USNS) Charles Drew arrived at L&T’s Shipyard at Kattupalli, Chennai on Sunday for undertaking repairs and allied services, adding a new dimension to the India-US strategic partnership, officials said.
This is the first-ever repair of a US Navy ship in India, providing a huge boost to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbharta in Defence’.
The US Navy had awarded a contract to L&T’s Shipyard at Kattupalli for undertaking maintenance of the ship.
A statement said that the event signifies the capabilities of Indian shipyards in the global ship repairing market.
“Indian shipyards offer wide ranging and cost-effective ship repair and maintenance services, using advanced maritime technology platforms,” it said.
Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral S.N. Ghormade, Flag Officer Commanding Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Naval Area Rear Admiral S. Venkat Raman and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence visited the shipyard to welcome the vessel.
Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin and Defence Attache at the US Embassy in Delhi, and Rear Admiral Michael Baker were also present.
Ajay Kumar, terming the event as a red-letterday for the Indian shipbuilding industry and the India-US defence relationship, said: “We are indeed pleased to welcome the US Naval Ship Charles Drew to India, for making her voyage ready. India’s initiative also assumes special significance in furthering the strategic partnership between India and the US. It marks the beginning of a new chapter for deeper engagements.”
He described the arrival of USNS Charles Drew for repairs as a sign of a maturing Indian shipbuilding industry.
“Today, India has six major shipyards with turnover of nearly $2 billion. We are making ships not only for our own requirements. We have our own design house capable of making all kinds of state-of-the-art ships. The shipbuilding industry today is not just carrying out conventional things, but is also amalgamating the latest technologies with it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Defence Secretary also said that the ties between India and the US have been expanding in scale and scope, and are based on common values and beliefs of an open, inclusive and rule-based order in Indo-Pacific and rest of the global common systems.
“There has been a tremendous amount of traction in the defence industry cooperation over the last couple of years between the two countries,” he added.
USNS Charles Drew will be at Kattupalli shipyard for a period of 11 days and undergo repairs in various areas.