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Reliance in talks with Russia to build frigates

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Talwar class guided missile frigate INS Teg.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Anil Ambani led Reliance Group is in talks with Russian authorities for a possible tie-up to build India's next three state-of-the-art frigates.

Top Defence officials maintained however that the Navy is only in "exploratory talks" with Russia to see if the frigates can be built with Russian collaboration so as to "expedite" the process of inducting ships.

The deal is for three Grigorovich-class frigates, an improved version of the six Talwar-class frigates the Indian Navy obtained between 2003 and 2013.

With public sector shipyards tied up in existing orders, the Navy is looking at Russia for possible collaboration.

"It is just exploratory talks. Nothing has been decided as of now. There are lot of steps that need to be taken before an order is placed," a top official said when asked about reports that Russia has shortlisted Pipavav Shipyard for execution of the project.

Meanwhile, Pipavav in a NSE filing said: "As part of ongoing business efforts, we are in negotiations with potential global customers, including inter alia organsiations by the Russian government for multi-billion contracts for building warships, frigates etc".

Asked about the issue, a spokesperson of Reliance group, which is in the process of buying out Pipavav said, "We are fully committed to the 'Make in India' vision of our Prime Minister. Our mission is to build higher capabilities at the world-class facility that we have, to be able to serve the complete requirement of the Indian Navy".

Pipavav also said that "appropriate disclosures will be made as and when final agreements are signed, resulting in a reportable event".

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