NEW DELHI -- Most of the attention given to India's big defense modernization program, valued at more than $50 billion, has focused on the $11-billion fighter jet contract that New Delhi is looking to sign. However, concerned by the threat from the seas, especially in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in November, India has been looking to build its naval strength as well.
In a recent move, the federal government has also designated the Indian navy as the nodal authority responsible for overall maritime security, which includes coastal and offshore security.
Last week, India approved its biggest-ever domestic defense contract, valued at more than $9 billion, to produce seven advanced stealth frigates for the navy at shipyards in Kolkata and Mumbai. With the P17A warship project now cleared by New Delhi, the Indian navy is further gearing to bring in 40 new warships over the next three five-year plans. The government plans to invest more than $12 billion over the next 10 years on warships.