JVs with global OEMs seems to be the way towards indigenisation for domestic industry
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative having taken off, defence production seems to have got a boost in India, albeit the scope is much wider than what has been achieved so far. Major defence manufacturers from abroad, who earlier could only partner with state-run defence production units, can now join hands with players in the private sector.
The possibilities for joint defence production in India involving foreign firms has been clouded somewhat because of the controversy over the Rafale contract. However, that does not detract from the need to involve private players in defence production, who could bring to the table the advantages the private sector has – technology transfer, off-set contracts, elimination of bureaucratic paralysis, efficiencies in production line, meeting delivery time schedules and of course, accessing bank credit.
The benefits go farther than that. Self-reliance, saving of foreign exchange, possible earnings through exports, and of course, jobs. The objective of this article is limited, in the sense, taking a cursory view of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who have joined hands with local firms to deliver state-of-the-art military systems to the Indian armed forces.
Over the past few years, defence planners have woken up to the need of indigenous production of aviation systems, and to involve the private sector. The ‘Make in India’ initiative is a major step forward, despite the sluggishness in momentum. Here is a brief look at the tie-ups between major OEMs and Indian private sector.
As the saga over the Rafale deal rages on, the first company that comes to mind is aircraft manufacturer — Dassault Aviation, which has chosen to partner with India’s Reliance Group. This joint-venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), was created on 10 February 2017. The foundation for DRAL plant in Nagpur (Maharashtra) was laid on 27 October 2017. This plant is expected to manufacture parts for Falcon 2000 business jets and, in the future, parts for Rafale fighter jet. Dassault also has tie-ups with various companies such as BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, Maini and SAMTEL.
Dassault has till date delivered more than 10,000 military and civil aircraft to customers in more than 90 countries over the last century. Dassault Aviation specialises in design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the Falcon family of business jets and military drones.
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