India has urged the United States to allow it to offer maintenance and repair facilities for American military vessels in the region in Indian shipyards. A team of US officials will soon visit Indian shipyards to investigate this potential, according to Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar. During the 2+2 dialogue in Washington earlier this month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his US counterpart Lloyd J Austin III discussed this issue. “We requested permission from the US side to provide maintenance and repair facilities (for their vessels) in this location. The United States has agreed to send a team to our shipyards to discuss the feasibility of such a project,” said Rajnath Singh.
“We expect this team will be here shortly. They will be visiting other shipyards, but they will (also) be visiting Mazagon Dock (in Mumbai), he added. Asked whether similar discussions are being held with other countries too, Kumar said Indian shipyards have been talking to a number of nations across different geographies – in South America, Africa and Asia, particularly West Asia and the ASEAN region.”
“In some countries we are already in the process of supplying various kinds of naval boats and patrol vessels. In some other countries, we are in discussion,” the senior bureaucrat said. Narayan Prasad, Chairman and Managing Director, Mazagon Dock Shipyards Ltd (MDL), said this issue came up for discussion during the visit of Admiral Michael Gilday, US Chief of Naval Operations, in October last year.