Giving a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' initiative, Europe's Airbus and the Mahindra group have entered into a deal to jointly manufacture military helicopters in India.
The partnership comes in the wake of growing requirements of Indian armed forces.
"The tie-up is in line with our intent to develop an indigenous industrial ecosystem for helicopters. The joint venture will be dedicated to supplying the Indian Armed Forces with Made-in-India, state-of-the-art helicopters of high reliability, quality and safety standard based on combat-proven platforms," The Economic Times quoted Airbus Helicopters president & CEO Guillaume Faury as saying.
A joint venture thus formed by the two groups will emerge as the first private manufacturer of helicopters in the country. However, the companies did not disclose how much they invest in the joint entity.
"Together, we will produce India's next-generation helicopters that will not only answer our country's defence needs but will also have the potential for exports in the future," said Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd chairman SP Shukla.
Analysts estimate the government will invest $250 billion in upgrading country's military forces over the next 10 years. PM Modi wants the military needs to be met more from indigenous production, as the country remains the world's largest arms importer, the Business Standard reported.
Several companies have expressed interest in manufacturing defence equipments, noting that the sector is poised to grow significantly due the government's thrust on modernising the Indian military.
"Both companies will now get into discussions to finalize the formation of the joint venture which will act as the prime contractor for India's military helicopter tenders including the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter, the Naval Utility Helicopter and the Naval Multirole Helicopter procurement programs," Airbus said in a statement.