July 20, 2009, New Delhi -- Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony told parliament July 20 that he expected a delay in the scheduled delivery of six Franco-Spanish Scorpene submarines for the Indian navy.
Antony's statement came as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh readied to flag off sea trials of India's first nuclear-powered submarine off Vishakapatnam port in southern Andhra Pradesh state.
Antony, replying to questions, blamed the expected delay on "problems in the absorption of technology" by a domestic shipyard assembling the attack submarines in western India.
The first Scorpene was originally scheduled to be delivered in 2012, with one ship per year from 2013 through 2017.
Antony did not provide a fresh timetable.
In October 2005, India signed contracts worth 2.4 billion euros ($3 billion) with Armaris, which is owned by France's Thales, and European defense firm MBDA to buy the six submarines.
The deal is a technology transfer agreement. French naval group Direction des Compagnies Navales (DCN) is producing key equipment unavailable at Indian shipyards.
India's first nuclear-powered submarine, to be named INS Arihant (Destroyer of Enemies), is part of planned fleet of five such submarines which will offer India an underwater nuclear launch capability.
The 7,000-ton Arihant will put India alongside Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States in the club of nations with such vessels.
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