French & Russians push stopgap submarine sales

By SP's Special Correspondent

August 19, 2014: As the wait for Project 75 India gets longer, and as an RFP gets more elusive, both France and Russia are in discussions with the Indian Navy to supply two submarines quickly off the shelf. As SP's had reported last year, France's DCNS has already offered to quickly build two Scorpene attack submarines and supply them. Reports now suggest that Rosoboronexport has made a similar offer. In such an instance, the Amur 1650 is on offer, and would be the first of the type ever built. The tantalising underwater battle between the French and Russians has veered from one side to the other, with top sources now indicating that should the Defence Ministry agree to the navy's request that it be allowed to contract for two submarines directly from one of the two shipyards, it would slow force level depletions compounded by the INS Sindhurakshak tragedy last year. But several questions remain unanswered. For instance, how would the government decide which submarine to choose among the two? Second, would that impact the P75I programme itself? Clearly, the navy isn't anywhere closer to satisfactory force levels.