This Article is From May 16, 2011

India to invest US $46.96 billion on 101 naval ships: Expert

Singapore: India is to invest US $46.96 billion as part of moves to boost up its naval forces over the next 20 years adding 101 new warships, ranging from sophisticated destroyers to nuclear submarines.

"Going by the investment value, India is expected to build sophisticated destroyers, new generation and new radar vessels, nuclear submarines, and amphibious ships," Naval analyst Bob Nugent and vice president of the United States-based AMI International, said here today.

Speaking at a pre-event press conference for the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference to be held in Singapore for May 18 to 20, the international expert said that Indian investments in surface and undersea platforms would be double that of China, which was spending US $23.99 billion to build 113 war vessels.

While, Indian naval programme would be focused on building nuclear submarines, the Chinese thrust would be on building an aircraft carrier.

India, he said was looking at building compact hi-speed and hi-tech warships, the analyst said, that Indian shipyards were in the process of completing hi-speed coastal boats to prevent Mumbai type terror attacks from the sea.

He said that Indian naval shipyards were already operating its full capacity, raising the risk of ship building programmes running short of local yard space.

He cited that the first casualty could be India's ambitions to build six French Scorpene submarines, adding that this order could be reduced from six to three due to limited yardspace.

Maritime experts said, that India's expenditure on warship building could account for as much as 27.8 per cent of the total investment in Asia-Pacific.

They said, that India and China naval build-up programme would outstrip that of non-NATO and even Russian investments.

Other major naval investors in Asia-Pacific would include Australia - US $14 billion, Indonesia - US $ 7 billion, Taiwan - US $16 billion, Pakistan - US $2.85 billion and Singapore - US $1.74 billion.

Backing his confident in the Indian investment on naval ships, he pointed out that India have built and or was in the process of completing 100 coastal boats.

Nugent stressed that the high dollar investments for each country showed the high-end naval vessels to be built in the coming years though the number of units might be small.

He said the region was already rated as the world's leading investor in the naval vessels, with 340 units, worth US $69.1 billion, being built or to be completed over the next three years.