Why are Reliance, L&T battling over defence contract from the Indian Navy? The Indian Navy has asked for new warships from the government which would be capable of carrying as many as 3000 troops, besides armoured vehicles and battle tanks. But the Indian Navy is indecisive as to which one out of the two competing companies, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) or Reliance Naval Engineering Limited should get the contract.
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As reported by Asia Times and secondary research by EurAsian Times, choosing one company over the other could lead to political repercussions and hence the political dilemma over the contract is resulting in an unprecedented delay. This delay could be crucial for the Indian Navy given the tough challenges lined up ahead amid threats from China and Pakistan. Larsen and Toubro and Reliance Naval Engineering Limited are the two big sharks competing for the contract.
The opposition has alleged that the government is exhibiting a bias towards Reliance Naval Engineering Limited. On the other hand, Reliance has accused senior navy officers of displaying a sense of favouritism towards Larsen and Toubro. The deal as per Asia Times has been estimated to be of worth $3 billion.
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The diesel-electric propulsion ships which the Indian Navy seeks will be capable of staying deployed at sea for at least 45 days. These would be able to carry diesel-electric propulsion ships will be able to carry helicopters, 6 battle tanks, 20 infantry combat vehicles, 40 heavy military trucks and large troops hence adding a new might to India’s naval capabilities.
The idea behind having these diesel-electric propulsion ships is to bolster India’s military capabilities in the Indian Ocean. This capability will be strategic in defining India’s policies on Indo-Pacific where China is the biggest opponent. But political delays are hurting the ambitions of the Indian Navy as the contract is yet to be awarded. How long will the Indian Navy have to wait for their diesel-electric propulsion ships?