The defence ministry has signed a ₹1,070-crore contract with Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) for the construction of 14 fast patrol vessels (FPVs). The vessels, equipped with cutting-edge features and technology, aim to enhance the operational edge of the Coast Guard to tackle modern multidimensional challenges.
The FPVs, to be indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured by MDL, will be delivered to the coast guard within a timeframe of five years. These vessels are expected to play a crucial role in various maritime operations, including fisheries protection and monitoring, control and surveillance, anti-smuggling operations, search and rescue missions, assistance to ships in distress, and anti-piracy operations.
A statement from the defence ministry highlighted the advanced features of the FPVs, which include multipurpose drones, wirelessly controlled remote water rescue craft, and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. This technological augmentation is aimed at providing greater flexibility to the Coast Guard in addressing contemporary challenges effectively.
The contract aligns with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India) initiative, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to indigenous shipbuilding capabilities. Emphasizing self-sufficiency in defence, the ministry highlighted that the project would not only contribute to national security but also generate employment opportunities and expertise development within the country.
The defence ministry’s pursuit of self-reliance in defence manufacturing is evident in its strategic decisions, including the imposition of an import ban on 98 weapons and systems in April 2023. The banned items encompassed a wide range, from futuristic infantry combat vehicles to ship-borne unmanned aerial systems, showcasing the government’s determination to reduce dependence on military imports.
The latest contract for FPVs adds to the positive trajectory of indigenous defence production. The fifth positive indigenisation list, released by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, placed 509 defence items under an import ban in the last three years, underlining the government’s commitment to fostering domestic capabilities.
India’s dedication to achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing has yielded significant results. In May 2023, the country announced that the value of defence production had surpassed ₹1 lakh crore for the first time. This milestone reflects the success of key reforms implemented to stimulate growth in the sector, reducing dependence on military imports and positioning India as an exporter of weapons and systems.