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Manohar Parrikar to review progress of Scorpene submarine project

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A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will review the progress of the much-delayed Scorpene submarine project during his visit to the Western Naval Command early next week.

Parrikar is set to travel to Mumbai on April 6 on his first official visit to the city as Defence Minister.

Defence sources said he will visit the Western Naval Command and undertake a detailed briefing by top officials there. The key takeaway will be his visit to Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL), where six Scorpene submarines are being built, with the help of French firm DCNS.

Though the first Scorpene submarine was scheduled to be handed over in 2012, the revised dates are now September 2016.

In October 2005, the contract for 'Project-75' was awarded to French defence giant DCNS to build six Franco- Spanish Scorpene-class diesel attack submarines at MDL. The deal involved extensive technology transfer agreements.

Even though French blame the Indian side for the delay, Parrikar has said the delay is "mainly" due to difficulties in procuring material from foreign vendors.

Parrikar said the shipyard has undertaken augmentation of the manpower, infrastructure and industrial means in a phased manner to meet the production target and that the production capabilities have also been augmented.

The sources said the Defence Minister would review the ongoing project and try and understand the reasons behind the delay, besides procurement issues.

The visit also assumes significance as MDL would be one of the contenders for the P-75I project under which India plans to indigenously develop six more submarines.

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