The production of defence equipment by Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd, which is in the process of setting up one of India’s largest defence parks at Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, is likely to begin soon after the company submitted the licences approved by the Union government to the Madhya Pradesh government last week. The Pithampur SEZ is situated about 30 km from Indore in Dhar district.
Official sources in the state commerce and industry department said that with the submission of the licences, all the formalities needed by the state government for the commencement of production of defence equipment have been completed.
“Last week, they (Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd) submitted the approval and licences given to them by the Union government to us. Now a team of officials from the Madhya Pradesh Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam (AKVN, a state body that oversees development in the SEZ), will be going to Pithampur to prepare a report on the ‘preparedness’ of the plot that has been allotted to Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd, and the report will be shared with the Union government and Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd so that they can start work as soon as possible,” a Bhopal-based official with the state industry department said.
The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Union Ministry of Commerce, had in March given approval for 12 industrial licences to Reliance Defence Ltd, a subsidiary of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, allowing it to manufacture systems to address the defence requirements in India and overseas markets and forge tie-ups with international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The official said that around 300 acres of land have been allotted to Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd and fencing of the land has already been done. “Now the only thing that remains is the handing over of the possession of the plot to Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd,” the official said. The initial investment that the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd is expected to make in its defence park is likely to be around Rs 3,000 crore, the official said. It is likely to be the biggest single investment under the “Make in India” campaign till now.
People familiar with the development said that in the initial stage, Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd will be focusing on developing helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), all-terrain combat vehicles (ATCVs), night-vision devices, electronic counter measures (ECM), besides heavy weapons (artillery guns, mortars, rocket launchers) at the Pithampur defence park.
Industry department officials also said that Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd was looking at extra land because of the the joint venture (JV) that it had formed with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems of Israel. “We are already in the process of identifying around 80-100 acres of additional land in Pithampur for Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt Ltd so that it can be handed over to them,” the official quoted above said.