In a surprising move, a Turkish shipbuilding firm will be assisting the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) with the transfer of technology to build five mammoth naval support vessels. The Visakhapatnam headquartered HSL is likely to get an order from the Navy by the end of this year.
As per a report in Hindustan Times, the project, which is estimated to cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, will include technology transfer from Anadolu Shipyard, part of Turkey's TAIS consortium, with which HSL last year signed a technical partnership.
The first fleet support vessel (FSV) is scheduled to be delivered by HSL to the navy within four years of the date of approval with the other ships to be delivered at a rate of one every 10 months to 12 months. Vessels would have a length of 230 metres and a displacement of 45,000 tonnes. For warships, FSVs hold fuel and other materials.
Why the involvement of Turkish firm may have security implication for India?
The defence partnership between Turkey and Pakistan is well-known to the world where the former has been supplying equipment to Islamabad for a long time now. The partnership directly has a security implication on India. Strategists have also alarmed by the consequences to Indian especially after the Nagorno-Karabakh war where drone supplied by Turkey played a central role in Azerbaijan's decisive victory.
In past, Pakistan and Turkey have signed major defence deals. In 2018, Ankara agreed to supply 30 T-129 attack helicopters to Islamabad. Although the US has halted this deal as it required its approval as it slapped sanctions, under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Tukey. But Turkey has reiterated its commitment to deliver the choppers in times, showing it's out of turn support to Pakistan.
Moreover, Turkey has also agreed to supply four corvettes (small multi-role warships) to Pakistan's Navy worth $1 billion. The deal has been touted as the country's "biggest single" military export order.
Turkey's pro-Pakistan stance on Kashmir
Turkey's pro-Pakistan stance hasn't limited to defence cooperation only. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said "Kashmir conflict is still a burning issue" at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Pakistan-ally Turkey has used several platforms to raise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir time and again.
Turkish President even went on to say that "We have never forgotten and will never forget the help which the Pakistani people extended by sharing their own bread during our War of Independence. And now, Kashmir is and will be the same for us."
Moreover, Turkey has also directed its pro-Islamist narrative in Kashmir as well. Security forces and agencies have highlighted the increasing presence of Turkey in Kashmir and are closely monitoring the money coming in from a country in West Asia that has increased its emphasis on the region.