Source: Livemint, 13 November 2022
Brazilian small arms manufacturer Taurus Armas is looking at the small-arms needs of the Indian armed forces. In an interview with Mint, Taurus Armas CEO Salesio Nuhs argues that his firm’s expansion into the Indian defence market, in partnership with Jindal Defence, will provide top-of-the-line pistols, carbines and submachine guns for the Indian armed forces. Nuhs confirms that joint production of weaponry is set to begin in a Haryana-based factory. Nuhs details his firm’s plan to transfer technology and assist in India’s defence indigenisation ambitions. Edited excerpts:
What is the status of Taurus Armas’ proposed joint venture with Jindal Defence? Mint has learnt that production in a $5 million factory is expected to start from January.We are excited with the development of our project in India. Our investment has been made and plant infrastructure is ready for commencement of manufacturing activities. We expect plant approval from various stakeholders to be granted anytime, enabling us to start production very soon.
Which specific arms is Taurus Armas looking to manufacture in India? Are any markets (government agencies, armed forces) being targeted as customers?Taurus Armas is a Brazilian strategic defence company and is the largest seller of small arms in the world. It’s a world leader in the manufacture of revolvers and one of the largest producers of pistols, in addition to being the most imported brand in the United States. It has a product line that includes revolvers, pistols, long and tactical guns, such as submachine guns and rifles. Besides personal and home defence, Taurus products are used by military forces and law enforcement agencies in several countries.
Together with Jindal Defence, Taurus is proud to bring its technology and know-how to the Indian market. At the initial phase, products will be available to cater to the specific requirements of the Indian Armed Forces, as well as other relevant government agencies. Taurus 9mm pistols, 5.56 x 45mm carbines, 7.62 x 39 mm rifles as well as 9 x 19 mm submachine guns are some of the products that will be available for the Indian forces. Taurus is bringing its worldwide recognized non-prohibited bore firearms for the civilian market too. Soon our pistols and revolvers aimed for the civilian market will start production in India and will be readily available countrywide. Production will start with Taurus 7.65 calibre pistols and Taurus 32 calibre revolvers. Several other calibres will be made available according to market demand. Such products were displayed at our booth in DEFEXPO 2022, among many more.
What are the expansion plans of Taurus Armas for the Indian market? Taurus has a long-term vision for partnership with Jindal Defence, and its presence in the Indian market. The objective will be achieved through engagement and cooperation between both companies to fulfil the goal of contributing to the vision of Make In India and helping India to develop its potential in modern firearms manufacturing. Expansion plans are in the scope of our partnership and can include a wide array of firearms for different applications, according to the specific needs of local forces.
What role can Taurus Armas play in India’s defence indigenization ambitions?Such factors combined with robust manufacturing processes and modern management practices allowed Taurus to develop systems to ensure fast delivery and assured quality, enabling the company to compete with great success in the global market. As one of the largest firearms producers in the world, we can also handle large volumes of production that are yet to be developed by other manufacturers.
All this proven experience, combined with Jindal Defence’s knowledge and success in India, enables us to engage on a comprehensive indigenization plan with a very strategic approach, focusing on the absorption of knowledge and total transfer of technology. This includes technology for the manufacture of critical parts and components as well as manufacturing processes, testing, maintenance, product support and other relevant aspects. This will guarantee a local capability build-up that will contribute to a self-reliant and self-sufficient India.
What challenges has your company faced as it has tried to expand into the Indian defence market? Are there any policy changes needed at the government level?Expanding into international markets is not always easy. Thanks to our experience in developing new markets, our products are present in more than 100 countries worldwide. With support given by our partner, Jindal Defence, we are confident we can reach our goals.
Many international firms have concerns about transfer of technology. However, your firm’s partnership with Jindal Defence was based on technology transfer. Is this a challenge for international firms coming into India?Finding the right partner is critical to the success of any technology transfer project and we are happy to work together with Jindal Defence to ensure that our goals are achieved. This process is very natural for us and does not raise concerns, as we are transferring technology to a joint venture in which we are participating as equity partners.
High technology and proven quality firearms manufacturing involves a time-consuming learning curve and high complex processes development. Consequently, transfer of technology involves considerable time in capability build-up, supports ecosystem development and intensive training of all stakeholders. It may be tricky for many competitors but our experience allows us to perform this task with confidence.
Based on your firm’s experience, is there potential for other international defence firms to manufacture arms in India?There is much potential as well as challenges. International defence firms willing to manufacture firearms in India must be well prepared to overcome such challenges and build up a highly skilled team, together with a strong local partner, to increase the chances of success.