Indiaâ€™s Mahindra Plans Unmanned Sea Surveillance Vessels- Bloomberg . . . Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (MM), Indiaâ€™s biggest sport-utility vehicle maker, plans to build unmanned coastal surveillance vessels as the nation boosts security along its coastline following the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack. The companyâ€™s newly formed joint venture with Israelâ€™s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. will assemble the vessel at a facility in Pune, western India, â€œin a phased mannerâ€ after initially importing models from its partner, K.A. Hai, chief executive officer of Mahindraâ€™s defense unit, said in an e-mail reply to Bloomberg questions. He didnâ€™t give a timeframe. â€œUnmanned patrol vessels will be needed in large numbers to protect from infiltration by terrorists, protect our offshore assets and patrol vital coastal assets such as nuclear plants,â€ Hai said April 18. India created a specialized force and added interceptor boats to strengthen security along its about 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles) of coastline after militants reached Mumbai in November 2008 through the west coast and killed 166 people in an attack that lasted almost three days. The government also encourages local private companies to build defense equipment to help pare the nationâ€™s reliance on overseas suppliers. â€œThis is a good opportunity for Mahindra as India is now reducing its dependence on foreign companies for defense,â€ said Umesh Karne, a Mumbai-based analyst at Brics Securities Ltd. â€œItâ€™s also a strategy to hedge against fluctuations in its main business.â€ Indian Venture Rafael, which will hold a 26 percent stake in the Indian venture, currently builds Protector, a remotely controlled naval combat vessel. The business, to be operational by July, expects sales to reach $50 million in the first year, Hai said last month. Mahindra fell 1.6 percent, the most in two weeks, to 714.6 rupees at close of trading in Mumbai. The benchmark BSE India Sensitive Index also declined by a similar margin. The company, based in Mumbai, got 61 percent of revenue from the automotive business in the quarter ended in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Farm equipment contributed the balance. Armored Vehicles Mahindra has also formed a venture with BAE Systems Plc (BA/) for armored vehicles and a partnership with Telephonics Corp. for radars as it expects sales of about $500 million in 10 years for its defense unit. India last year overtook China as the worldâ€™s largest arms importer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Locally made defense equipment now account for about 40 percent of total purchases, from 30 percent previously, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said March 29. The worldâ€™s second-most populous country plans to raise defense spending by 13 percent to 1.93 trillion rupees ($37 billion) in the year that began April 1. Tata Motors Ltd. (TTMT), owner of Jaguar Land Rover, and truckmaker Ashok Leyland Ltd. (AL) are also expanding military equipment business after India opened defense production to private players in 2001.