Armoured cars, small arms in India-Brazil defence equipment short-list

New Delhi and Brasilia are looking to co-develop defence products in the latest such moves towards establishing stronger military ties

Shashank Mattoo
First Published8 Apr 2024
Defence has emerged as one of the key pillars of the Indo-Brazilian relationship, alongside energy and agricultural trade. (AFP)
Defence has emerged as one of the key pillars of the Indo-Brazilian relationship, alongside energy and agricultural trade. (AFP)

India and Brazil are putting together a list of two dozen defence products for possible co-development and production as part of efforts towards deepening security ties, according to persons aware of the matter.

This follows a flurry of high-level defence delegations from Brazil visiting India recently. During the latest such visit, Brazil’s defence products secretary Rui Mesquita told Mint that the two countries were looking at agreements on sharing military information and cooperation on defence technology.

The short-list for co-development of defence products includes armoured cars and small arms. Defence companies from both nations are closely involved in the discussions, according to the people familiar with the developments.

The Indian government and the Brazilian embassy in New Delhi did not immediately reply to emailed queries on the development.

Defence has emerged as one of the key pillars of the Indo-Brazilian relationship, alongside energy and agricultural trade. Security cooperation featured in bilateral talks between Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during last year’s New Delhi G20 Leaders Summit.

“At the moment, there are moves toward acquisitions, joint ventures between our strategic defence companies, and the provision of services,” Mesquita told Mint in an earlier interview, when he was in India for talks as part of the India-Brazil Sub Group on Defence.

“Some areas of collaboration include proposals for the exchange of information and military technology, cooperation in capacity building and training, building partnerships in the development of defence systems and equipment, managing maintenance services, and strengthening the supply chain for our defence systems,” he had said.

Mesquita has previously broached the idea of a “Scorpene club” of nations, comprising countries that use the Scorpene submarine, which are developed by the French Naval Group and the Spanish shipbuilding company Navantia. 

India and Brazil operate Scorpene submarines and, according to media reports, may conclude an agreement to cooperate on this front.

Brazilian defence firms have established a presence in India in recent years. Earlier this year, Brazilian aerospace company Embraer S.A. and Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd signed an agreement to work on the Indian Air Force’s requirement for a medium transport aircraft. Embraer is looking to offer its C-390 Millennium aircraft for this purpose. 

Earlier, Brazilian small arms manufacturer Taurus Armas S.A. teamed up with Jindal Defence Systems Pvt. Ltd to establish a manufacturing facility in India, which commenced production in March. According to Taurus Armas, the initial annual production capacity of the facility will be 250,000 weapons.

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