Defence and security company Saab Grintek Defence (SGD) and Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division (Tata Power SED) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as part of the ’Make in India’ program that promotes defence trade manufacturing in India and creates new export opportunities for South Africa.

The MoU, signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to South Africa last week, reinforces the long-term potential for defence and security collaboration between India and South Africa.

Partnership discussions between the two companies commenced in March 2016, resulting in a collaboration that will serve the Indian market – as well as regional and global markets – with electronic self-protection systems for land-based platforms.

“We are excited about the signing of this MoU as it is our strategy to take South Africa’s indigenous technology and products beyond local markets with well-established expert partners that add value to our supply chain and open new markets. The transfer of technology for production of initial orders for Saab’s global customers has already commenced at Tata Power SED’s facility in Bangalore,” says Trevor Raman, President and CEO at Saab Grintek Defence. “This collaboration proactively positions SGD solutions for the future Indian land-based platforms self-protection market.”

SGD is responsible for the transfer of technology for production in India, and Tata Power SED will manufacture a large part of the defence system in India, manage final assembly and be responsible for marketing the system locally.

The MoU also aligns with ‘Make in India’ initiatives being implemented by the Indian government, which aims to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure in India.

“Tata Power SED is excited to be a part of this synergetic collaboration. Given the long-term potential for self-protection systems for combat vehicles, both in India and abroad, we see this collaboration for joint development and manufacturing with Saab Grintek Defence as an important milestone in boosting India’s capabilities in building defence systems and is perfectly aligned with the actual essence of ‘Make In India’ initiatives being implemented by the Indian government.”, says Rahul Chaudhry, CEO, Tata Power SED.

With almost 75% of SGD’s total turnover represented by the exporting of products, the company was awarded the Best Exporter Award by the SA Premier Business Awards in 2013 and 2014. Hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry in partnership with Proudly South Africa and Brand South Africa, the award recognises the spirit of success, innovation and good business ethics in the economy.