Anil Ambani
Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, speaks during a news conference in Mumbai January 16, 2011.Reuters

Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani, on Sunday, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a new naval shipbuilding facility in the state. Initially, the company plans to invest Rs 5,000 crore in the state-of-the-art facility.

The facility, which will expand the company's presence in the defence sector, will be built at Rambilli, along the east coast near Vizag, Anil Ambani said.

"At an initial investment outlay of Rs 5,000 crore, it will represent the single-largest investment at one location anywhere in Andhra Pradesh," Ambani said at the CII Investor Partnership Summit.

Ambani said that it would "complement" the company's existing facility at Pipavav in Gujarat and will clearly focus on setting up "strategic assets" for the Indian Navy.

"It is estimated that Indian Navy will spend over Rs 3 lakh crore or nearly Rs 20,000 crore a year on acquisitions and fleet modernisation of submarines and aircraft carriers over next 15 years, creating a huge pipeline of opportunity for the proposed world-class naval facility," Business Standard quoted Ambani as saying.

Reliance Group has already invested Rs 15,000 crore in the state across various sectors, including telecom and power, he said.

Stating Vizag as the ideal place for the manufacture of strategic assets such as nuclear sub-marines and aircraft carriers, Ambani said that the city has emerged as one of the busiest harbour cities in Asia.

"One of the most important part of India's policy of a "credible minimum deterrence" is SSBN or a nuclear submarine and the proposed Vizag facility will play in critical role in complementing this mission and bringing it to fruition," said the billionaire industrialist.

He further said that it will also improve Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' mission in the defence sector.

"The world-class naval facility will also help translate Make In India into Make In Andhra Pradesh and leapfrog the state to the top of the manufacturing revolution in India's defence sector," Ambani added.

Ambani said India can emerge as "regional superpower" only by strengthening maritime capabilities.

"The US today has 10 aircraft-carrier groups operating around the world to project its power and protect its interests and was on course to add another three, while India had barely one," he said.

"The Indian Navy has today just one nuclear submarine on lease as compared to China's dozen. Further, nearly 90 per cent of the conventional fleet in the Indian Navy is over 20 years old and due for urgent upgrade and refitment," he added.