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Is India missing a shipbuilding opportunity?

India announced it will ramp up Russian coal imports for building, manufacturing and not shipping

Only known for shipbreaking, India does not look keen on building which is also an employment avenue. Former navy chief, Admiral Arun Prakash noticed it from outside. He felt India could take a leaf from China, whose shipbuilding is “dedicated” to state-owned entities.

A case of different priorities
India has an interest towards anything but shipping – deliberate (or otherwise). Despite Admiral Prakash’s view published in India’s online paper, The Print a while back, it has not expired in any shape or form. Moreover, Steel Minister Ramchandra Prasad Singh recently revealed that India is leaning towards importing more coal from Russia – in fact doubling the volume. “We are moving in the direction of importing coking coal from Russia,” he reportedly said.

India ramped up Russian coal imports at an irresistible discount. Apart from allocating a percentile for electricity use, the remaining is for infrastructure construction and other transport sectors except for shipping, as per India Brand Equity Foundation’s (IBEF) steel industry report dated November 2021.

India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) is a Trust established by the country’s Department of Commerce, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Its primary objective is to promote and create international awareness of the “Made in India” label in markets overseas and to facilitate dissemination of knowledge of Indian products and services. Towards this objective, IBEF works closely with stakeholders across government and industries. Nonetheless, the inaction towards its shipbuilding sector is deafening.

By placing majority of their stakes in something which provides a good business opportunity, India may only be known for shipbreaking in years to come. The competition for shipbuilding in Asia Pacific will be only among 3 countries. Admiral Prakash concluded in his though-provoking piece, “It is time to acknowledge shipbuilding as a strategic industry, with a vital role in the nation’s security as well as industrialisation, job creation, and to accord it the status of a full-fledged department or ministry.”

Marine Online News Team
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