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US Navy Cruiser Charles Drew Docks In India For Repair; Major Boost To ‘Aatmanirbharta In Defence’

Story Highlights
  • The USNS Charles Drew will be in Kattupalli shipyard for 11 days for repairs in various areas."
  • The United States is a major destination for Indian exports," Dr. Ajay Kumar said, thanking US partners for their cooperation and support of the Indian defence industry.

The US Navy ship Charles Drew arrived at the Larsen and Toubro shipyard in Kattupalli, Chennai, on Sunday for repairs and allied services, providing a significant boost to ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbharta in Defence.’

According to an official release, this is the first time a US Navy ship has been repaired in India. The US Navy had awarded a contract to L&T’s Shipyard in Kattupalli to maintain the ship. The event demonstrates Indian shipyards’ capabilities in the global ship repair market.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, Flag Officer Commanding Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Naval Area Rear Admiral S Venkat Raman, and other senior Ministry of Defence officials visited the shipyard to welcome the vessel.

Judith Ravin, Consul General of the United States Embassy in Chennai, and Rear Admiral Michael Baker, Defence Attaché at the United States Embassy in New Delhi, were also present.

Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar described the event as a watershed moment for the Indian shipbuilding industry and the Indo-US defence relationship, saying, “We are indeed pleased to welcome US Naval Ship USNS Charles Drew to India, for making her voyage ready.” India’s initiative is also significant in terms of strengthening India’s strategic partnership with the United States. It marks the start of a new chapter in terms of deeper engagements.”

The arrival of the USNS Charles Drew for repairs, according to Dr. Ajay Kumar, is a sign of a maturing Indian shipbuilding industry.

“Today, India has six major shipyards with a combined annual revenue of nearly $2 billion.” We are not only building ships for our own needs. We have our own design house capable of producing all types of cutting-edge ships. Vikrant, the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, is a shining example of the Indian shipbuilding industry’s growth. Goa Shipyard Limited and some of our start-ups have built vessels capable of autonomous missions as part of the new innovation ecosystem. “Today’s shipbuilding industry is not only doing traditional things, but it is also incorporating cutting-edge technologies,” he said.

The Defence Secretary also stated that India-US ties have grown in size and scope, and are based on shared values and beliefs about an open, inclusive, and rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific and the rest of the world’s common systems.

He added that there has been a tremendous amount of traction in the two countries’ defence industry cooperation over the last few years.

“Indian defence exports have increased dramatically in the last four to five years.” Exports, which were worth approximately Rs 1,500 crore in 2015-16, have now increased by 800% to approximately Rs 13,000 crore. “The United States is a major destination for Indian exports,” Dr. Ajay Kumar said, thanking US partners for their cooperation and support of the Indian defence industry.

He predicted that defence exports would rise further in the future. Consul General of the US Embassy Judith Ravin described it as a new chapter in the Indo-US strategic relationship, indicating the two countries’ growing ties.

Shri JD Patil, Member of the Executive Council and Advisor to the CEO of L&T for Defence and Smart Technologies, stated, “The US Navy’s Marine Sealift Command conducted a thorough evaluation of select shipyards in India and cleared L&T to repair their vessels. It is a recognition of the shipyard’s modern infrastructure, which was built to international standards. The USNS Charles Drew will be in Kattupalli shipyard for 11 days for repairs in various areas.”

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