‘Make in India’ gets push with Thales-Bharat Dynamics agreement and ideaForge UAV deal, says GlobalData

Following the news that French multinational defense company Thales and Bharat Dynamics Ltd have signed an agreement to manufacture STARStreak Air Defence System, and the Indian Army has signed a US$20m contract with ideaForge to procure Switch unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV);

Mathew George, Ph.D., Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The Indian Army’s deal with the UAV manufacturer ideaForge and the partnership agreement between Thales and Bharat Dynamics focus on the development of the local defense industry. On one hand, a contract has been awarded to a local company with a value that has limited the possibility of tenders for Indian companies. On the other hand, a state-run company is working to produce the majority of a globally recognized system from India. Consequently, it not only helps in providing a global system as an Indian product but also allows it to be procured as an Indian product in India.

“India’s focus on ‘Make in India’ and ‘indigenization’ got a fillip with the announcements made in March 2020 to deal with the effects of the pandemic. The government has then followed on with several deals that lived up to the announcements. With continued support, local defense companies can expect enough exposure to be taken as serious contenders by armed forces.

“Positively, these developments allow the Indian forces the ability to work with the local industry to guide them with what they’re looking for and the standards they hope industry can provide them. With costs always a limiting factor, such small acquisition programs will allow companies to offer interesting alternatives, independent of a global supply chain. It is something that Indian policy makers and strategic thinkers will readily welcome.”

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