The Union defence ministry has officially approved Goa Shipyard Limted's (GSL) collaboration with Russia's United Ship Building to build two guided-missile stealth frigates for the Indian Navy.
The ministry's move to nominate GSL has irked Larsen & Toubro and Reliance Defence and Engineering, who were keen on bagging the prestigious contract. Sources said the two private sector shipyards have expressed their displeasure to the ministry.
"The Naval HQ has written to the Russian authorities seeking technical and cost details for building guided-missile stealth frigates. Thereafter, GSL will start discussions. The private sector may have the capacity, but it is yet to prove its capability," a source said.
The defence ministry was forced to turn to GSL and the two private sector shipyards as the major public sector shipyards were tied up executing current orders. Russian delegations have already visited the Vasco-based shipyard and cleared its facilities for construction of the frigates, which will be equipped with sensors and weapons, including the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
During a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 2016 Brics Summit, the two countries inked a deal to purchase four guided-missile stealth frigates from Russia.
According to the agreement, two of the frigates will come from Russia, while the other two will be constructed in India, sources said.