The Government of India on Thursday announced a $1 billion proposal to build four aircraft carriers and a helicopter carrier at the Indus River port of Indus in the state of Gujarat.
The announcement, by the state’s finance minister, Suresh Prabhu, follows a similar bid for the proposed Chinese-designed aircraft carrier, a project that was initially blocked by India’s parliament.
The government said the ships would be able to carry up to 1,200 personnel, including pilots, engineers and a ship’s engineer.
The proposed carriers, which will be built by Chinese companies, are expected to be ready for operational service in 2021.
Prabhu said the $1bn proposal was in line with India’s commitment to the Indes River port, which has been under heavy water after a dam broke in 2016, killing an estimated 1,400 people.
He also said that the Government of Gujarat had agreed to buy 40 Indian-made aircraft from a Chinese manufacturer for training and maintenance at the facility.
“This was a strategic agreement between India and China.
It is in line of our commitment to Indus port,” he said.
India and China signed an $8 billion trade deal in January that also included the proposed Indus project.
The agreement includes the construction of two additional facilities for the construction and maintenance of the Induses ships, a deal that is expected to cost about $4.6 billion.
The Indus-China corridor, which spans the western Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Aden, is a vital link in Asia’s maritime trade.