MUMBAI, Jan 10 (Reuters) – India’s Reliance Defence Ltd has signed an accord with a provincial government to set up a naval facility along the country’s eastern coast with an initial investment of 50 billion rupees ($748 million), the company said on Sunday.
Reliance Defence, a unit of billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, plans to build submarines and aircraft carriers as well as to provide services including maintenance and refitting of ships at the facility.
It will be located 70 km (45 miles) south of Visakhapatnam in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Reliance Chairman Ambani cited estimates saying the Indian navy could spend nearly 200 billion rupees annually over the next 15 years on acquisitions and fleet modernisation of submarines and aircraft carriers.
This would generate a “huge pipeline of opportunity”, according to a copy of his speech at an industry event released by the company.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government wants a greater role for Indian state and defence firms as the government is forecast to spend $250 billion over the next decade to upgrade its military.
The government has, however, yet to move forward on its plans to build up the submarine fleet, meaning any order for companies including Reliance Defence may be years away. ($1 = 66.8372 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy and Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Keith Weir)
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