Chennai: US naval ship Charles Drew docked at Larsen & Toubro’s shipyard at Kattupalli in Chennai on Sunday for undertaking repairs and allied services, in the first such visit to India by an American vessel. The Defence Ministry described it as a “huge boost” to ‘Make in India’ and said the visit added a new dimension to the burgeoning Indo-US strategic partnership.
“This is the first ever repair of a US Navy ship in India. The US Navy had awarded a contract to L&T’s Shipyard at Kattupalli for undertaking maintenance of the ship,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The event signifies the capabilities of Indian shipyards in the global ship repairing market. Indian shipyards offer wide-ranging and cost-effective ship repair and maintenance services, using advanced maritime technology platforms,” it said.
Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral SN Ghormade and other senior officials of the Defence Ministry visited the shipyard to welcome the vessel.
US Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin and Defence Attache at the US Embassy at New Delhi Rear Admiral Michael Baker were also present. Kumar described the visit by the US ship to undertake repairs as a “red-letter day” for the Indian shipbuilding industry and the Indo-US defence relationship.
“We are indeed pleased to welcome US Naval Ship USNS Charles Drew to India, for making her voyage ready. India’s initiative also assumes special significance in furthering the strategic partnership between India and the US,” he said. “It marks the beginning of a new chapter for deeper engagements,” Kumar added.