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‘India A Rs 7,000 Crore Market For Simulators’

Ashok Alturi, chairman and managing director, Zen Technologies, discusses his group’s plans in a chat with Businessworld

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Ashok Alturi, chairman and managing director, Zen Technologies, discusses his group’s plans in a chat with Businessworld.

Edited excerpts:

On India as a producing base

India is a very attractive production base because of high connectivity, attractive policies, skilled and low-cost labour, local demand and a stable government.

On Make in India
I feel that just Make in India is inappropriate for the current situation. One of the main objectives of Make in India should be wide scale job creation. With automation happening at a frightening pace all around the world, job creation due to setting up of manufacturing plants is going to be very minimal. Even tax generation from manufacturing is going to be minimal as the profit margins on manufacturing facilities are razor thin. Therefore, we need to expand the Make in India initiative to Design, Develop and Make in India as significant value creation happens primarily in design and development.

On the group’s future plans
Our products are universal in nature. They can be customised for use by armies and other security agencies the world over. Also, we have high quality products which have competed with the best international companies and have bagged contracts in India. Indian armed and police forces are one of the toughest customers in the world. If we have been able to satisfy them, we can satisfy anyone. So we can contribute immensely, of course, with the help of the government. With seller friendly export policies by the government, we are focusing on export and we are sure to succeed and contribute. We have competed against the world’s best and won tenders. For more than two decades, Zen has been designing and developing cutting-edge technology, training simulators and solutions. We feel our solutions, such as the new Combat Training Centre, can be customised and scaled to any general or specialised need. Given the increasing threat of lone-wolf and other terrorist attacks, we find our solutions are very unique and tailor-made for the current and future threats. Since we have our own IP our solutions are very cost effective and the price point makes them a no-brainer decision. I personally feel the goal for Indian defence industry should not be modest but aggressive. We have the ignominy of being the largest importer of defence equipment. In the next decade India should become a net exporter of defence equipment. And the way the current policies are being framed and exports being encouraged by the Ministry of Defence, I will be surprised if we don’t achieve that goal.

On future products
Almost all the simulators and training equipment that we manufacture have been designed and developed by us and the IP belongs to us. We don’t have any foreign ITAR or other controls on our exports on the combat training centre solution. For military flight simulators we have partnered with Rockwell Collins specifically for the Indian market as we have gaps in that area. We have partnered with IABG for war gaming solutions.

On business targets
We think there is almost a Rs 7,000 crore market for simulators in Indian defence that we can address. In the next 5-7 years, in terms of exports, we want to achieve 2x of the domestic market sales.