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Published on : Feb 24, 2015

India’s Reliance Group has one of the largest and most diverse industrial networks in the world. The group has a presence in a wide range of industries from power to telecommunications. It is one of the largest industrial groups in not just India, but the entire world. The group is now planning to expand into a hitherto unexplored territory: defense equipment manufacturing.

A top Reliance executive said the company is planning to move for defense contracts valued at more than US$20 billion in the near future. It has already set its eyes on a few choice deals, and is in talks with aerospace and other defense manufacturers to strike up a collaborative effort with an eye on entering the manufacturing field with a wide array of defense-related products and equipment.

The company’s new policy of investing in defense manufacturing follows from a recent declaration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to boost the Indian defense manufacturing sector. Modi has recently stated his intention to buck the historical trend of India being a consistent importer of defense equipment, and to start increasing defense equipment manufacturing operations in India with a patriotic vision to help the country break its shackles and manufacture its own defense equipment in-house.

Rajesh Dhingra, president of Reliance Defence and Aerospace Pvt, admitted to reporters that Reliance were complete newbies in the sector, but they were banking on their extensive experience of handling massive businesses with a long gestation period before the cash started to flow. Reliance expects to learn quickly on the go, thanks to management guidelines learnt in the other ventures.

One of the defense contracts targeted by the company was the manufacture of more than 620 helicopters for the Indian armed services, worth about US$8 billion, and Project 75i, the construction of six diesel submarines.