Defence Industry

US Navy Ship Makes Landmark Entry At Kattupalli Port For Repairs After Indo-US Agreement

Story Highlights
  • Besides the US Navy ships, other friendly countries have asked us to fix their ships because of where we are, what we have
  • The US Navy gave the MSRA to L&T after putting a lot of effort into evaluating several Indian factories. Ramchandani said

The US Navy Ship Salvor, a rescue and recovery ship of the Safeguard class, has arrived at Larsen and Toubro’s Kattupalli shipbuilding yard near here for repairs. This is part of the Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA), which India and the US signed last month.

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Arun Ramchandani, Executive Vice President and Head of L&T Defense, said that India’s largest private defense company will fix US ships over the next five years.

The rescue and salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52), which is part of the Military Sealift Command, came at the L&T Kattupalli shipyard on July 9 to get repairs for its next trip. After the USNS Charles Drew and the USNS Matthew Perry, this is the third US Navy ship to go to the L&T port for repairs. After two weeks, when the repairs and upkeep have been done, the ship will continue on its way.

Along with Ramchandani and other L&T leaders, the ceremony was attended by the US Consul General in Chennai, Judith Ravin, the head of the US Embassy in New Delhi’s Office of Defense Cooperation, Captain Michael L. Farmer, and other top US Embassy officials.

“This Master Ship Repair Agreement is yet another important step in the growing relationship between the US and India. This historic deal is a direct result of the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in 2022. It shows that the US is committed to using the L&T shipyard in Kattupalli’s repair facilities regularly,” Ravin said at the time.

She said that this agreement will help to strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries and make the Indo-Pacific a more free and open place.

“During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States, he said eloquently, ‘The scope of our cooperation is endless, and the chemistry of our relations is effortless,'” she said, adding that the announcements made during Modi’s official state visit set a marker and showed how much potential there is.

The MSRA with L&T is the first agreement of its kind in India. It is “a symbol of our strengthened US-India partnership,” Ravin said. The MSRA is an agreement between the US Navy and private shipbuilding contractors to pre-approve shipyards to repair US Naval vessels. The agreement is not legally binding, but it does show that the US and India are working together more closely.

The MSRA will speed up the way the US government contracts for repair work and help the Indian government reach its goals for local production and operations. With MSRA certification, the L&T Kattupalli shipyard may bid on US Navy and Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship repair contracts throughout the 7th Fleet area of duty, she added.

The Agreement shows how the US Navy and Indian companies can work better together to improve marine security for everyone. The shipping businesses helped make the Indo-Pacific free and open by working together to fix US Navy ships in an affordable and effective way, the Consul General said.

“President Biden’s trip to India is coming up soon. This will be the second summit between our two countries at the top level in less than six months. We are dedicated to making the US-India Major Defense Partnership work. We will do this by sharing more information, working together on regional security, trading in defense, and working together in new areas. Ravin also said, “I’m excited to see how this MSRA works out and where our partnership might go in the future.”

In a meeting with the media, Captain Farmer was asked if the Kattupalli yard would also repair and service US warships, not just auxilliary vessels as is the case now. He said, “The MSRA does not allow the repair of US Naval warships at this time. We would only take care of maintenance.” It will also do important repair work on other ships. In the future, both governments could work in that way.”

He denied that the US was planning to set up a naval base on Indian land, but he did say, “It could be a possibility in the future if both governments worked together.”

Ramchandani said at the event that L&T has been able to give its customers high-quality goods and services. Kattupalli yard has fixed up a lot of ships from the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. Besides, over 70 ships were built in a decade’s time.

“Besides the US Navy ships, other friendly countries have asked us to fix their ships because of where we are, what we have, what we can do, and where we are going,” he said.

The US Navy gave the MSRA to L&T after putting a lot of effort into evaluating several Indian factories. Ramchandani said, “This agreement will allow L&T to work on bigger repairs and upgrades to US ships and support vessels.”

Later, when he talked to the reporters, he said that L&T Kattupalli was ready for future growth because it had 1,000 acres of land, which gave it room to grow within the facility.

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