For the first time ever, the US navy ship Charles Drew on Sunday arrived at Larsen and Toubro shipyard at Kattupalli in Chennai for repairs. Indian ministry of defence called this move a ‘major boost to Make in India’ initiative.
According to an official release, the US Navy had awarded a contract to the L&T Shipyard for undertaking maintenance of the ship. The event signifies the capabilities of the country’s shipyards in the global ship repairing market.
Indian shipyards offer wide-ranging and cost-effective ship repair and maintenance services, using advanced maritime technology platforms.
United States’ Military Sealift Command’s Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Charles Drew provides critical support to the U.S. Navy fleet operating in the Indo-Pacific Region, it said.
Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, Flag Officer Commanding Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Naval Area Rear Admiral S Venkat Raman and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence visited the shipyard to welcome the vessel.
Consul General of US Embassy in Chennai, Judith Ravin and Defence Attaché at the US Embassy at New Delhi Rear Admiral Michael Baker were also present.
Terming the event as ‘very significant,’ Defence Secretary, Ajay Kumar said, “We are indeed pleased to welcome US Naval Ship USNS Charles Drew to India, for making her voyage ready. India’s initiative also assumes special significance in furthering of the strategic partnership between India and US. It marks the beginning of a new chapter for deeper engagements.”
Ravin called it a new leaf in Indo-US strategic relationship, signifying the deepening bonds between the two nations.
Rear Admiral Michael L Baker, said, “Our shipping industries positively contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific by partnering to deliver effective, efficient, and economical repair of military vessels.”
The USNS Charles Drew will be at Kattupalli shipyard from August 7 to 17 and all repairs would be completed by this time.
To a reporters’ query about the kind of repairs needed for the vessel, an L&T official said such information cannot be shared as it as a Navy ship from a foreign country.
(with PTI inputs)