Mumbai: Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Defence and Engineering has inked a major contract with the U.S. Navy to provide repair and alteration services for ships of the Seventh Fleet.
This would be the first instance of an Indian company, either public or private, providing logistical support to the U.S. military within Indian territory.
On February 13, the Anil Ambani group firm announced that Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra)-led Reliance Defence and Engineering (RDEL) had signed a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with the U.S. Navy to maintain the vessels of its Seventh Fleet involving 100 vessels operating in the Indian Ocean.
The signing of a MSRA agreement is a follow-up to the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed between New Delhi and Washington in August 2016.
“Reliance Shipyard has been selected after a detailed site survey by U.S. Government representatives in end October 2016,” a Rinfra statement said, adding: “This selection by the U.S. Navy is a true recognition of the world-class facility, processes and the high standard of the capability of Reliance Shipyard at Pipavav.”
The statement said that Reliance Shipyard is the first in India to have received MSRA Certification to undertake servicing and repairing work for the vessels of Seventh Fleet.
Currently, these vessels visit Singapore or Japan for such works.
The U.S. Seventh Fleet looks after the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. The vessels will be serviced and repaired from the Reliance Defence owned shipyard in Pipavav in Gujarat.
The Pipavav shipyard was qualified and approved to perform complex repair and alteration services for the US Navy last month after a detailed site survey conducted by the US government representatives in October last year.
In 2015, the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group took over Pipavav Defence, a private shipyard in Gujarat, after getting necessary approvals from various regulators and other government agencies.
Set up in 1997 by Nikhil Gandhi-promoted Sea King Infrastructure Ltd, Pipavav Shipyard was in 2010 allowed to build strategic and defence vessels. Its name was changed to Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co. Ltd to emphasize its focus on defence shipbuilding and offshore activities.
According to Reliance the deal is likely to generate 10,000 crore in revenues in the next five years.