India's project to construct three nuclear-powered submarines at a southern India naval base is near completion, officials said on Thursday.
"Things are in the final stage now," A.K. Antony, India's defence minister, told reporters in the southern city of Bangalore.
"There were bottlenecks earlier, but they are over now," a defence spokesman quoted him as having said during an airshow.
The project is part of a $2.9 billion plan to build five submarines, delayed for years due to technical problems.
"All that is behind us and we are on course to complete the project in a few months and go for trials," a defence spokesman said in New Delhi.
India's Defence Research and Development Organisation is also working on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which would be fitted into the new submarines, officials added. The country has plans to lease nuclear-powered submarines from Russia.
India is looking to spend more than $30 billion over the next five years to modernise its largely Soviet-era arms and is also trying to strengthen its navy by introducing new weapons systems.
The country already has fighter aircraft and missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
India is also speeding up a separate $1 billion domestic weapons development programme to modernise its armed forces, following renewed tensions with Pakistan over the attacks in Mumbai last November.
The plans include inducting 124 tanks for the Indian army by December, the first of a batch of locally-made combat aircraft for the navy also by the end of the year, and unmanned aerial vehicles to boost border surveillance.
Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2009, 11:48