Nation Building Through Shipbuilding

The Chief Guest VAdm AK Saxena, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition (CWP&A), addressed the media, delegates from the industry and Indian Navy during the Curtain Raiser on FICCI international Seminar on ‘Nation Building Through Shipbuilding’ today at FICCI Conference room, New Delhi.

“Cmde Mukesh Bhargava, Member Defence Committee of FICCI and Executive Director & Member of Board, L&T Defence, Cmde Sujeet Samaddar, Advisor, FICCI, Shri Vivek Pandit, Asst. Secretary General, FICCI, RAdm GK Harish, Director General Naval Design, Capt DK Sharma, PRO (Navy), Flag Officers, Senior officers and experts from the Navy and Industry and dear friends from the media.

At the outset, I would like to thank FICCI and the DGND for giving me this opportunity to address this gathering of esteemed personnel on today’s curtain raiser event. It could not have been a more opportune time for organising this event as warship building in our country is seeing an unprecedented upward trend.

A vibrant shipbuilding industry contributes to National GDP and generates substantial business and employment opportunities in both upstream and downstream ends. Accordingly, Shipbuilding has been identified as a key strategic sector under the ‘Make in India’ Initiative of the Indian Government. Shipbuilding growth leads to spin offs for other industries, such as steel, electrical & engineering equipment, port infrastructure, trade and shipping services. Being labour intensive, Shipbuilding industry offers much more potential for employment generation when compared to automobile, infrastructure and other industries. Whilst the order books of Indian Shipyards for warship building projects have been supported by IN and Coast Guard, there is a need to enhance our competitiveness in manufacture of indigenous ship-borne equipment to generate the required volumes for long term sustenance of the Industry. Being a capital intensive infrastructure industry, this sustenance, in long term, for Indian shipyards and OEMs of systems and equipment is possible, only if we become globally competitive and diversify to build ships and ship-borne equipment for merchant marine.

Here, I would like to state that whilst India has developed a national capability to design and build world class warships and submarines, we need to design and build our strengths in merchant marine with vessels for inland waterways, coastal ships and specialised merchant ships in long term. Also, though a fair amount of technology and indigenisation has been achieved, additional capacities and new capabilities for rapid growth of sector are required to be nurtured. The ships also need to be environmentally friendly to attract global interest. Financing for shipbuilding has been a key concern due to the long gestation periods involved. There is also a need to study policies on taxation, interest rates, subsidies and other measures in line with global practises for our shipbuilders to be globally competitive. With increased competitiveness of indigenous industry coupled with inherent design strengths, reduction in costs, timeliness of production and improvements in quality of ships can be garnered to attract revenue from global markets.

To address all the issues impacting further growth of the industry and to share latest advancements in shipbuilding, FICCI, in association with Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (Surface Ship Group), is organising an International Seminar on 25-26 of July at FICCI House, New Delhi. The topic for the Seminar would be “Nation Building through Ship Building”.

The Seminar will have five sessions, addressing a vast range of issues in shipbuilding, right from developing vendor base, financing, national policy framework and efficiency enablers to new considerations in ship design. The seminar would also feature a panel discussion on Energising Shipbuilding in India. Each of these sessions would be chaired by eminent personalities in the field of shipbuilding and allied sectors. This seminar will bring a diverse group of industry experts and academia from both India and abroad under one roof to explore and discuss these issues. The seminar is expected to witness participation from large number of senior dignitaries from the MoD, Navy and Industry.

The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh is likely to be the Chief Guest for the opening ceremony and Hon’ble Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal is likely to be Chief Guest for Valedictory Session of Seminar. Hon’ble Minister (IC) of Shipping and Minister of state for Chemical & Fertilisers, Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya is also likely to participate in a special session.

I have been apprised that a stakeholder’s session to outline the seminar was held by DND(SSG) with FICCI wherein large number of industry partners and Defence Attaches participated in overwhelming numbers. This curtain raiser with your participation intends to reach out to many stakeholders who can join us in shaping the future of a resurgent India”.