After about a decade of dabbling in the defence sector, and after being an infrastructure company for the longest time, Punj Lloyd has finally got its military business strategy right - a focus on small arms. In an exhibition of its confidence on a decade-old partner, Punj Lloyd has joined hands with Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) to set up India's first private sector small arms manufacturing plant at its Malanpur facility in Madhya Pradesh.
On 4 May, Punj Lloyd opened its facility for making Israeli small arms components at the Malanpur facility, as a first step towards ultimately making whole systems for the small arms family from IWI. This is also Israel's first step towards achieving its targets to bag orders from the Indian Army to meet its requirements for a list of small arms, including the standard assault rifle to replace the Indian INSAS rifle.
The two companies have come together to establish a joint venture under the name of Punj Lloyd Raksha (PLR) Systems and they are awaiting the licence from the Indian government to manufacture whole small arms systems in India soon. The Malanpur facility will be the first private sector small arms manufacturing plant in India apart from the Ordnance Factory Board that manufactures it. IWI has a 49 per cent share in the JV, as per the foreign direct investment norms, while Punj Lloyd holds the majority 51 per cent stake.
The inaugural event was presided over by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj