The announcement came during Pistorius’ visit to New Delhi, where he met with his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh. The move comes as India seeks to enhance its domestic defence manufacturing capabilities amid concerns over China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean.
Pistorius stated that he discussed concrete military procurement cooperation, specifically mentioning the possibility of thyssenkrupp’s naval arm, tkMS, supplying the submarines. He referred to this potential project as a “lighthouse project” for the companies involved. According to a Reuters, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems is expected to finalize the deal with the Indian company on Wednesday.
tkMS’ bid for the $5.2-billion project aims to replace the aging submarine fleet of the Indian Navy, as Western military manufacturers strive to reduce India’s reliance on Russian equipment. The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between tkMS and India’s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders is set to be signed on Wednesday, with the agreement’s value estimated at around 7 billion euros.
In March, India allocated a budget of 560 billion rupees ($6.8 billion) for its navy, which currently operates 16 conventional submarines, 11 of which are over two decades old. The navy also has two indigenous nuclear-powered submarines.
While the statement from Defence Minister Singh did not directly mention the submarines, he highlighted the potential for stronger ties between India and Germany, emphasizing India’s skilled workforce, competitive costs, and Germany’s advanced technologies and investment.