By Devjyot Ghoshal
(Reuters) – Swedish defence products company Saab will set up a facility to manufacture its Carl-Gustaf M4 weapons system in India, a top executive said on Tuesday, as the company looks to ramp up production.
The facility will begin production in 2024, Senior Vice President Gorgen Johansson told reporters at a news conference.
Johansson declined to provide detail on the investment that the company is likely to make in the facility.
The Carl-Gustaf M4 is a recoilless rifle which has been ordered by the Indian armed forces.
The new facility will support its production as well as components for users of the system around the world, the company said in a statement.
“We haven’t done this in any other country”, Johansson said.
India – the world’s largest buyer of Russian arms – has been pushing to expand its defence manufacturing capacity in recent years and grow its military exports.
From around 10 billion rupees ($122.62 million) of defence exports some eight years ago, India is now exporting more than 130 billion rupees of military equipment, Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
“We have set a target of 1.75 trillion of defence production by 2025, which includes export of 350 billion,” Singh told a gathering of defence manufacturers.
There’s been an increased interest in the Carl-Gustaf weapon system, which can be used against tanks, since the conflict in Ukraine.
“More countries will seek anti-tank capabilities going forward,” Johansson said.
Earlier this year, Saab said it would boost capacity to meet rising demand.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, has prompted many countries, including Saab’s home market Sweden, to boost defence budgets.
($1 = 81.5510 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal in New Delhi; writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)