Friday, August 19, 2022

Strengthening the strategic partnership between the US and India through the prism of ship repair    

The USS Charles Drew arrived in Kattupalli, Chennai a few days ago for repairs. Some media saw this as a great success for the Indian shipbuilding and ship repair industry, as well as the success of the “Make in India” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiatives. 

Deputy Defense Minister Ajay Kumar called the event a landmark day for the Indian shipbuilding industry and India-US defense relations. He also noted that the arrival of the USNS Charles Drew for repairs is an indicator of the high quality of the Indian shipbuilding industry. 
“Today there are six large shipyards in India with a turnover of about $2 billion. We build ships not only for our own needs.” 
Earlier it was reported that the US Naval Sealift Command assessed a number of shipyards in India and allowed L&T to repair its ships. L&T CEO’s adviser believes this is a recognition of the fact that the shipyard has a modern infrastructure that meets world standards. 
U.S. Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin said, “At the U.S.-India 2+2 meeting in April, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reaffirmed their intention to explore using Indian shipyards to repair U.S. Navy ships. The refurbishment of the USNS Charles Drew is a landmark event that should be highlighted as a symbol of the strengthened US-India partnership.” 
Rear Admiral Michael Baker, Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in New Delo, said, “O Our shipping industries positively contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific by partnering to deliver effective, efficient, and economical repair of military vessels.” 

A Lewis and Clark class dry cargo ship, the USNS Charles Drew will be at Kattupalli shipyard for a period of 11 days and undergo repairs in various areas. MSC already uses yards in the Middle East and Singapore. MSC did not respond to queries from Overt Defense before publication.

Moreover, it has transpired that the Indian defence attaché now has unescorted access to the Pentagon, a top US Defense Department official has said.

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