NEW DELHI --- A $2.3-billion deal to build fleet support vessels in collaboration with a Turkish shipyard has come into question after security concerns were raised over the firm, including links with Pakistan.
Turkey’s TAIS had emerged as the lowest bidder in June this year, following a global competition, for a contract to manufacture five of the 45,000-tonne fleet support vessels (FSV) at the Vizag-based Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL).
Turkish shipyards are a major supplier of warships to the Pakistani Navy and concerns have been raised in India on how access to the strategic HSL by its engineers and workers can result in serious security issues.
HSL is located close to the Ship Building Centre, where India’s nuclear armed submarines are built and the Eastern Naval Command has its headquarters.
Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had used the ceremony to launch new corvettes for the Pakistani Navy last month to once again talk about the Kashmir issue.
Erdogan said that he would continue to raise the issue at global platforms and attempted to draw parallels between the Kashmir issue and the Palestine conflict. The platform was also used by the Pakistan Navy chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi for anti-India propaganda.
Besides four new corvettes, Turkey has designed a fleet support vessel for Pakistan and has signed a deal to sell 30 T129 attack helicopters that have been developed in collaboration with Italian company Finmeccanica (since renamed Leonardo). (end of excerpt)
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