French aerospace and defence technology major Thales and Reliance Defence on Wednesday announced their decision to set up a joint venture company in India to leverage and execute Thales’ $1-billion (Rs 6,500 crore) offset obligation against 36 Rafale combat aircraft being bought by India.
While the JV will develop Indian capabilities to integrate and maintain radars and manufacture high-performance airborne electronics, it will execute this offset from its proposed greenfield facility at Mihan SEZ in Nagpur.
Within the proposed JV, Reliance Defence will have a 51 per cent shareholding, whereas the remaining 49 per cent will be held by Thales, which is a leading supplier of radars, electronic warfare solutions and software to Dassault Aviation that manufactures Rafale jets.
“We are delighted to seal this strategic collaboration with Reliance Defence Limited. This JV resonates with our strategy to strengthen our industrial footprint in the country by building collaborations with the Indian industry,” said Patrice Caine, chairman and CEO of Thales, after finalising the deal in Paris.
Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Group, called the “strategic partnership” with Thales yet another milestone for his company. “The strategic partnership with global leader Thales is another major milestone in our march towards best in the class manufacturing at support facilities for military hardware in India,” he said.
Ambani added that Reliance was committed to the government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiatives and would continue to remain in the forefront, partnering with leading companies in the world.
The JV would develop skills and activity in the Special Economic Zone of Mihan-Nagpur together with an Indian supply chain for the manufacturing of microwave technologies and high performance airborne electronics, the two companies said in a joint statement.