NEW DELHI — For the first time, India is taking punitive action against an overseas defense company that could see Turkish firm Anadolu Shipyard banned from doing defense-related business in India.
The Turkish company’s defense ties with Indian rival Pakistan have grown recently, and the latest move could impact the Indian Navy’s $2 billion fleet support ships program, for which state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited has chosen Anadolu Shipyard as its technology partner.
An Indian Ministry of Defence official said the punitive action would bar Anadolu from carrying out any business with Hindustan because such a partnership could have grave consequences for India’s security.
Last week Anadolu launched the first of four anti-submarine corvettes for the Pakistan Navy, and the shipyard is expected to officially ink a partnership agreement with Hindustan under which would be built five fleet support ships for the Indian Navy.
“Involvement of [the] Turkish defense company will include overseeing construction, detailed manufacturing, engineering, selecting equipment, quality assurance, etc. This would mean a permanent presence of Turkish people at HSL yard. That is a big security risk,” a senior Indian Navy official said.
India’s Navy will direct Hindustan to immediately end ties with Anadolu, the official added.
Diplomats at the Pakistani Embassy in India were unavailable for comment, and Anadolu Shipyard executives declined to discuss the subject.
Anadolu was selected by Hindustan in January to provide the design and other technical assistance for building five fleet support ships. Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea was not selected because it reportedly refused to guarantee the ships would be built in India, a Hindustan executive explained.
The 45,000-ton fleet support ship’s would carry armaments, stores and other essential equipment to support other warships in naval operations, and therefore the designer would possess sensitive details of what the ship would carry, another Indian Navy official said.
Said a Ministry of External Affairs official: “India is cautious with any kind of [strategic] alliance with Turkey because [the latter] has very close ties with Pakistan.”
India has not formalized defense cooperation with Turkey despite more than 70 years of diplomatic ties.