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New Delhi, Feb 14  Engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro and European missile major MBDA on Monday announced the setting up of a joint venture to develop and manufacture missiles in India to meet the country’s defence requirements.

The JV, L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd, is expected to be incorporated in the first half of 2017 after necessary approvals.

The joint venture — in which L&T holds 51 per cent share and the MBDA the remaining 49 per cent — will begin with the development of fifth generation Anti-Tank Guided missile, missiles for the coastal batteries and high-speed target drones.

Speaking on the occasion, Antoine Bouvier, Chief Executive Officer, MBDA, said: “Our business strategy in India has always focused on entering into a partnership at the deepest level, not just with the armed forces but also with the Indian industry.”

“The settings up of this JV is a natural progression of our partnership strategy. With L&T, I am convinced, we have found the ideal Indian partner,” Bouvier said.

“We have been trusted partners to the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Navy, delivering complete weapons systems and platforms, command control and sensor systems, designed, developed and manufactured in India for over three decades,” said A.M. Naik, Group Executive Chairman of L&T.

“Over this period, we have worked closely with the Defence Ministry and its different arms in jointly developing and delivering cutting-edge defence solutions,” Naik added.

L&T and MBDA have been working together on the offset programmes for last six year, said Naik.

“When I said by 2021, defence will be very important part of L&T portfolio, I had in mind around Rs 10,000 crore per year as our target. We think we are well on our way,” Naik said.

L&T expects to secure an artillery gun order from the Indian army in a month’s time.

MBDA has been one of the major missile vendors for India and part of aircraft deals, including that recently inked for 36 Rafale aircraft, and Mirage 2000 upgrade programme.

“This has been us involved in the transfer of technology and the production of products and components with the state-owned DPSUs (Defence Public Sector Undertakings) and also with the establishment of very close partnerships with the Indian private sector including large companies and SMEs.”

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