Sweet beginnings for Modi as Mauritius set to commission its first India-made warship


When Mauritius commissions its first India-made warship next month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to join the celebration. The island nation will commission MCGS Barracuda — an offshore patrol vessel — on March 12, coinciding with its 47th Independence Day.

Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) built the vessel under a March 2011 contract.

GRSE chairman Rear Admiral AK Verma (retired), who will be attending the ceremony, told HT, “It showcases the export potential of the Indian industry. PM Modi is expected to attend the ceremony along with his Mauritian counterpart.”

The warship marks GRSE’s entry into the global market and it is optimistic about a follow-on order.

Asked to comment on the Make in India campaign, he said, “It will not happen overnight. Attaining naval self reliance took 50 years. If everyone comes together, it may start showing results in five to seven years.”

The shipyard is trying to get a toehold in the international market, eyeing orders worth Rs 2,600 crore to supply warships to the navies of the Philippines and Vietnam.

India, which is concerned about China’s attempts to expand its influence into the Indian Ocean, supplied a Dhruv advanced light helicopter to Mauritius in 2009.

This was followed up by the commissioning of a coastal radar surveillance system there in 2011.

Indo-Mauritian defence ties cover co-operation in hydrography, providing training to Mauritian personnel and supplying naval aircraft spares
and engines.

Indian warships regularly carry out surveillance of the country’s exclusive economic zone to deter pirates and other illegal activities.