Why didn’t Japan offer India Soryu class submarines via Indian Project 75I?

Japanese soryu class submarines are known to be the best non-nuclear subamrines in the world. being a 4200 ton sub its seemingly quite and and has long endurance than any equivalent sub like scorpene and type 214 of Germany. It is the only submarine in the world to use li-ion battery propulsion system. This make it highly sophisticated and costly for India to buy.

Even though our former defense minister manohar parekhar has asked japan to participate in the Project 75I but this project is having a clause procurement has to be form Buy and Make category. Under the Buy and Make (India) category, the overseas shipyards will have to transfer technology to the domestic shipyard to compete in the tender but the Japanese are known to be reluctant to part with advanced technology.

If Soryu Class Submarine offer to India it will also raise few eye brows in Bejing since this will be for the first time India and Japan are collaborating on the transfer of high tech offensive equipment’s which will be prescribed has serious threat perception to Chinese Naval Surface and sub-surface fleet in Indian ocean region.

Since Soryu class submarines have been developed specifically to Hunt Chinese submarines and Warships, Chinese Navy in particular ranks Soryu class submarines has one of the greatest challenges it will face in the South China Sea and Asia-Pacific to keep its dominance in that part of the region.

Well, there is an old saying “It takes two to tango” and it perfectly sums up why this happened. As both nations i.e. India & Japan are equally to blame for squandering this one of a kind opportunity to provide a perfect start to their strategic co-operation in defense sector. Instead of explaining it directly, I think it would be a better approach to explain where these two states mess up (these issues are more or less the reasons questioner is looking for), in general, when it comes to arms deals.

Here is a list of issues (presented country-wise) ailing both Asian giants which often act as a death knell for potential defense deals:-

India’s :-

1) Lengthy, opaque & complex procurement policies and procedures. (frequently product gets obsolete by the time it reaches our armed forces)

2) Looking for best tech and equipment while having “lowest bidder takes it all” kind of procurement process. (for god’s sake, it’s our national security at stake & good things don’t come cheap)

3) Ever changing “GSQR” issue. (basically not realistic at all esp. when it comes to our domestic suppliers)

4) Not content with whatever tech we’re getting (i agree that we should negotiate for the best) despite not investing big in domestic R& D and demanding to share highly sensitive & complex tech (nobody does that) which foreign suppliers have developed with substantial investment of time & money. (how easily our government forgets…….“Rome wasn’t built in a day”)

5) Our country lacks a strong security mechanism inc. cyber security for confidential data & tech which further dissuades foreign OEM’s from sharing their sensitive tech with India esp. keeping in mind Scorpene data leak, stolen/ photocopied rafale docs to name a few.

6) Not everything can be made in India. (even the biggest arms exporter U.S. is not totally self reliant as it makes no sense)

7) Flawed offset policy. (don’t press for offset in each and every goddamn deal as it sometimes upset suppliers of weapons we are in critical need of)

8) Need to reform our domestic politics which heavily revolves around allegations of corruption in each and every major defense deal that takes place in our country and consequent blacklisting which makes foreign suppliers choosing not to cut deals with India.

Japan’s :-

1) Cost prohibitive products in a fiercely competitive global arms bazaar. Its domestic industry needs to understand that when it comes to exports it’s a foreign government on buyer’s end & not their own. (esp. when it was in self imposed exile from 1967 till 2014 & shaking things up need competitive costing)

2)Japanese are very conservative in terms of transferring the technology usually the even wont allow there closet ally to get full technology transfer, the soryu subs technology was even denied to Australia. along with these there is very big internal opposition from retired navy commander of japan towards technology transfer to both India and Australia.

3) Japanese government still imposes strict restrictions on arms deals that’s why it hasn’t secured a major export contract till date despite its domestic industry having technical and manufacturing prowess. (local industry executives are also miffed about it as relaxation of de-facto ban which lasted almost 5 decades has not been implemented in its spirit)

4) Lack of Transparent rules, policies & procedures in line with today’s dynamic environment.

5) Being over reliant on U.S. and not forming sincere strategic co-operation with other nations (esp. Asian ones) is not helping either. (Regional superpower China and its satellite state North Korea pose an ever increasing threat)

6) Hesitation to share tech for execution of at least a part, if not all, of contract by domestic industry of buyer state. (No country wants to remain ever reliant on foreign arms & tech and wants to eventually build it’s domestic defense industrial base with TOT from foreign suppliers)

7) With the recent leak of scorpene class submarines technology, they become rather more defensive towards transfer it. Also there is repeated claim that cyber attacks from china to India has given lot of critical information and poor cyber security infrastructure of India is unable to even detect a attack.





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