New Delhi: British defence group BAE Systems and Mahindra and Mahindra are holding talks to jointly manufacture anti-landmine vehicles, the companies said on Tuesday.
The announcement came as India said 475 companies including 278 global firms from 30 countries will showcase their latest military hardware at a four-day defence armament fair in New Delhi beginning 16 February.
BAE Systems said the two sides were discussing the possible production of its RG-31 landmine-protected vehicles, 600 of which are in use with the United States, Canada and the United Nations.
The British defence group has supplied 165 armored vehicles known as Casspir to the Indian army since 1999.
“Mahindra is an enormously capable world-class company with the skills to become a strong partner for BAE Systems on the development of a mine-protected vehicles for India,” said Mike Mendoza, managing director of BAE Systems’ Indian operations.
Mahindra Defence Systems, a wing of the six-billion-dollar domestic firm, is already producing bullet-proof vehicles for Indian troops battling insurgencies in Kashmir as well as in the country’s northeastern states.
“Our cooperation with BAE Systems for joint production of mine-protected vehicles is a strategic fit for our vehicle armouring business,” added top Mahindra executive Khutub Hai.
The British firm is also in the hunt to pick up a deal to grab an Indian contract to supply 40 Hawk trainer jets in addition to 66 aircraft worth $1.45 billion it sold to the Indian air force in 2004.
India has become the largest buyer of defence products among emerging nations with acquisition plans of $30 billion by 2012.