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‘Focus On Fire Power, Mobility’

Baba Kalyani, chairman and managing director, Bharat Forge, tells BW Businessworld that the group is focusing on making artillery guns, armoured vehicles, protected vehicles and missiles

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Baba Kalyani, chairman and managing director, Bharat Forge, tells BW Businessworld that the group is focusing on making artillery guns, armoured vehicles, protected vehicles and missiles:

On India as a production base
Like the rest of the world, India is gearing towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), which is going to drive the next wave of transformation in manufacturing operations and productivity. Amid a challenging global scenario, India remains one of the most attractive economies of the world with a growth rate of 7.6 per cent.

On India’s target to boost arms exports 20-fold to $3 billion across a decade
The Kalyani group, with its full scope of products developed for the defence sector, is excited about the prospects of the industrial sector in India. This increasing product portfolio, coupled with the government initiative to boost arms exports, puts us in a sweet spot to capture this opportunity. We are seeing a lot of traction from neighbouring countries and the Middle East. But we should not lose focus on first developing a robust and self-reliant defence industrial base in the country.

On the products that the group is keen to manufacture
Using the combined strength of various Kalyani Group companies, we have established modern and sophisticated infrastructure required for manufacturing artillery guns. My group follows a product driven strategy and believes in developing products that demonstrate our capability. We have designed, developed and manufactured 100 per cent indigenous systems like Bharat 52, Bharat 45, Garuda 105 and the latest Ultra-Light Howitzer (ULH). Having proven our capabilities with these developments, we are now focusing on the requirements of the Indian defence forces and are confident of providing state-of-the-art indigenous artillery solutions for them. In armoured vehicles, the Kalyani Group has been a long time supplier at the sub-system level. We are now focusing on mobility and fire power solutions, along with our global partners.

In the protected vehicles segment, we have developed products like the Light Strike Vehicles, Light Specialist Vehicles and Light Armoured Vehicles and are participating in tenders of the ministry of defence. In ammunition, we are not looking at developing routine products, but are working towards developing niche products like BMCS, FSAPDS, etc. We are also partnering with foreign partners for Electronic Fuze technology. The aim is to compliment the OFBs/ DPSUs. We have partnered with leading OEMs for missiles and AD programmes in India.

On FDI in defence production in India
Two major foreign OEMs, Elbit and Rafael, have formed defence units (in the form of joint ventures) with the Kalyani Group. We also have some other foreign companies talking to us for similar ventures. I am sure similar discussions are going on with many other companies in the country, as well.

On the group’s business targets
In India, defence, the Railways and oil and gas, are the critical market segments for us. We believe defence is a sunrise sector and we have a solid roadmap to increase our presence in that space. The focus areas in defence are artillery guns, armoured vehicles, protected vehicles, missiles and AD and ammunition. Our Make in India strategy is also well on its way, wherein, we are targeting import substitution across all verticals.