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India: New avenues open for rubber in defence sector

KOTTAYAM: The collaboration between Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) and National Institute of Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH) in the area of indigenization in making defence ships would open a new chapter in the use of natural rubber in India, said Rubber Board chairman Sheela Thomas.

She was inaugurating a national seminar on ‘Indigenous Warships – Avenues & Opportunities for Indian Rubber Industry’ at RRII on Friday.

Rubber has a key role in various defence applications. Depending on the nature of application natural or synthetic rubber products are used in this sector. Natural rubber, which is grown only in the hinterlands of the country, would now enter the ‘mainstream’ with this collaboration, she added.

With its inherent property to absorb shock, vibration and noise and provide flexibility, rubber finds prominence in warship construction, said Ravi Kiran, Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ship Repair Yard, Kochi, who was the guest of honour at the function.

As Stealth gains significance, more and more importance is also being accorded to rubber applications on board. “Even though India is the fourth largest rubber producer in the world, we still depend on imports when it comes to finished rubber products for defence use,” he said. Captain Ramesh Babu, project director, NIRDESH, in his introductory speech said that RRII had delivered prototypes of a few rubber-based articles to NIRDESH and they were found useful in defence applications.

– India Times

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