MALANPUR: India's first private sector small arms manufacturing plant was today inaugurated here which will supply world class weapons to the armed forces in sync with the country's defence indigenisation programme.
The plant, a joint venture between India's Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Systems, will produce four products -- X95 carbine and assault rifle, Galil sniper rifle, Tavor assault rifle and Negev Light Machine Gun (LMG).
The facility was thrown open by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The commissioning of the plant comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Israel during which a number of mega defence deals are likely to be sealed.
India is the largest buyer of Israel's military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapon systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains.
Speaking on the occasion, Michel Ben-Baruch, Head of SIBAT, Israel Ministry of Defence said his country will continue to support transfer of technology to India for defence production.
"Israel's Ministry of Defense fully and wholeheartedly supports this cooperation and will continue to support the transfer of technology and information also in the future, for the betterment of improved advanced tools.
"Israel and India consider their defense industry cooperation as a monumental step forward, towards a future of immense potential," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Punj Lloyd Chairman Atul Punj said, "These are tried and tested battle proven products already being used within the country. It is the first time in India that we are coming together with the complete technology to manufacture these products as 'Made in India'."
He said the the joint venture company, Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems, will help the armed forces replace their weapons with sophisticated and high precision products.
In his address, Chouhan said now the armymen will use weapons produced in Chambal area to fight with the enemy. Chambal area was once known presence of large number of dacoits and gangsters.
Calling Israel a "friend" of India, Chouhan said "now both of us will together crush terrorism and our jawans will use weapons made in our own country only."
"The prime minister has given a call for Make in India. Taking inspiration from it we have launched Make in Madhya Pradesh in the state," Chouhan said.
Israel's Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said ties between the two countries are built on the strengths of each other and hoped that many more joint ventures and collaborations in defence sector will take place in future.
"I applaud the establishment of joint cooperation ventures, such as between Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapons Industries, taking up Israeli President Rivlin's call for Israel to 'Make in India, Make with India'," he said.
Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Gwalior MP, Narendra Singh Tomar was also present on the occasion.