A call to arms . . The factory south of Faridabad looks nondescript. Thereâ€™s nothing to tell this is Indiaâ€™s first private factory dedicated to defence production. It belongs to Defense Land Systems India (DLSI), owned 74 per cent by the Mahindra group and 26 per cent by BAE Systems of Britain. In two sheds, spread over 110,000 sq ft, dozens work on armoured and bullet-proof vehicles â€” the Rakshak (on the Armada platform) for the Jammu & Kashmir Police, Scorpios, and even a Mahindra Navistar bus. There are four 6X6 Ural trucks at one corner, on which will be mounted bullet-proof hulls made of imported steel once the body has been taken off the chassis. The mine-protected vehicle (it is yet to get a name) can seat 16 passengers, run 800 to 1,000 km on a fuel tank of 200 litres and can withstand 14 kg of TNT under the body and 21 kg under the wheel. The design of the hull is angular so that the pressure waves caused by the blast arenâ€™t absorbed and get deflected. The company claims itâ€™s just the right armoured vehicle for paramilitary operations in Naxalite-affected areas. The factory has got an order for six from Jharkhand, and more are expected from Jammu & Kashmir. A prototype has been sent to Maharashtra, and a team from Nepal has shown interest in the vehicle. Once the orders are in, the factory is hopeful that it will roll out a mine-protected vehicle every two days. â€œI have told the home ministry,â€ says DLSI Managing Director & CEO Brig (Retd) Khutub A Hai â€œif the government puts in Rs 200 to 250 crore (in this vehicle), the casualties to the paramilitary forces will come down 90 per cent.â€ In the basement of an adjoining building, overhead projectors create a 3D video of an infantry combat vehicle. With the help of a keyboard, one can see it from inside, behind and underneath. Any defect in design can be corrected here before the drawings are sent to the factory. There are simulators for the driver as well as the gunner seated next to him. This is the first step in Anand Mahindraâ€™s plans to make it big in defence. Itâ€™s driven by more than just a citizenâ€™s concern for the countryâ€™s security â€” various think-tank estimates suggest that the Indian armed forces will buy equipment worth $75 to 100 billion over the next seven or so years. Defence production has been opened up for the private sector with 26 per cent foreign participation. The procurement policies have been amended to allow companies to bid for orders. The flip side is that very few purchases have been made through this route. * * * * * Hai, commissioned into the cavalry in 1966, left the armed forces in 1998 to join Mahindra & Mahindra. The government had sent out the first signals that the monopoly of the state-owned ordnance factories and the public sector in defence could end and there could be a role for the private sector. Mahindra & Mahindra, . . .............................for full article go to above link.