India: India is reportedly engaged in a deal to construct 24 river-sea class cargo ships for Russia by 2027. This move comes as Russia strives to find new avenues to support its struggling shipbuilding industry, which has been severely impacted by economic sanctions imposed by the West due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Russia's need for external partnerships to fulfil ship orders has become increasingly evident.
The most recent development involves an agreement between Russia and India, with India's defence public sector undertaking Goa (DPSU) shipyard Ltd taking a significant role. The Indian government has declared its intention to bolster its shipbuilding industry, positioning itself as a global player in the shipbuilding sector as a timely response to Russia's requirements.
Dmitry Dubovik, Director of the Caspian International North-South Integration Club, unveiled this deal at the Astrakhan International Forum in Russia. This event brought together key stakeholders involved in the proposed International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which aims to connect Russia and India via the Caspian Sea through Iran. Russia had previously outlined its plans to construct container ships customized for this route.
According to Dubovik, the plan involves constructing vessels to expand shipping on the Caspian Sea, with the first four ships set to be launched in 2024 by the Goa Shipyard. These ships will include chemical carriers, bulk carriers, and containerships tailored to meet the route's demands.
Dubovik highlighted that the collaboration with India offers a substantial cost advantage, with expenses reduced by almost half compared to Russian manufacturers. Financing for the project is expected to be provided by the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR), through the Russian Export Center (REC).
This agreement follows the announcement made in May by India and Russia regarding their efforts to conclude an intergovernmental agreement on shipbuilding and ship repair. Pawan Kapur, the Indian ambassador to China, expressed the potential for cooperation between Astrakhan-based companies and Indian shipyards, emphasizing ongoing negotiations with Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) to explore mutually beneficial interests.
In a related development, USC, Russia's largest shipbuilder and owner of several shipyards, including the Astrakhan Shipbuilding Production Association (ASPO), has expressed its interest in seeking a partnership with China, the world's leading shipbuilder. This moves underscores Russia's pursuit of shipbuilding support from India and China as it strives to enhance its capabilities in ice-class shipping and expand its presence in Arctic shipping.