National: Auto firms of India are looking for opportunities to enter into the defence sector. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a stagnant demand for automobiles in the domestic market. The companies want to increase the local manufacturing of defence equipment. They also want a deeper presence of private firms in the defence sector.
Auto firm companies like Ashok Leyland, Force Motors, BEML, JCB India etc. wants to exploit the government’s localization initiative.
Ashok Leyland is one of the largest suppliers of heavy vehicles to the armed forces. In 2020, the company supplied about 359 vehicles. They also supplied bullet-proof vehicles and kits for 8X8 trucks.
The company is also supplying aggregates and components for T-90 and T-72 battle tanks.
Also, JCB India has been supplying to the defence force according to tender basis. The company provides construction and material handling equipment to the Indian Army and Border Roads Organization (BRO).
Bharat Forge Ltd. is also working with 400 companies in the defence supply-chain ecosystem. The company is also looking forward to its completion of the final trials of locally developed artillery guns. The company is also creating a “three-horizon strategy” to grow.
Horizon 1: Artillery guns. Armoured and speciality vehicles are in Horizon 2. Horizon 3: Electronics and high-tech products.
There will be an increase in indigenous developments. This will reinforce the defence logistics industry. Also, this will offer an opportunity for suppliers to participate in development and growth.
The Defence Ministry on 9 August issued a list of 101 items on which an imports embargo will be imposed with certain timelines. While 69 items on the list were given the import embargo deadline of December 2020, the timeline for the remaining items stretches until December 2025.