JSW Group, led by billionaire Sajjan Jindal, has entered the defence sector by acquiring a controlling stake in off-road vehicle manufacturer Gecko Motors. This move positions JSW in direct competition with industry players such as Tata, L&T, Mahindra, Solar, Adani, and Bharat Forge. JSW has officially announced a new business vertical, JSW Defence and Aerospace (JSW Defence), after acquiring a 51% stake in Gecko Motors. As part of this strategic move, Gecko Motors, which has secured a Rs 250 crore order from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), will manufacture and supply 96 Specialist Mobility Vehicles (SMVs) branded as ATOR N1200 to the Indian Army.
The company said this order is currently under manufacturing at JSW Gecko’s newly set-up manufacturing unit in Chandigarh, Punjab, and will be supplied by June 2024. It will showcase the brand at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Friday. The ATOR N1200 represents a localised version of the SHERP N1200, an amphibious extreme mobility vehicle created by the UK-based Copato Ltd (Copato). Copato has engaged in a Joint Venture partnership with JSW Defence and JSW Gecko, accompanied by a technology supply license agreement. This collaboration aims to facilitate the domestic production of Specialist Mobility Vehicles (SMV) in India, aiming to establish India as the global hub for manufacturing this product.
“At $74 billion, India as a country has an extremely large defence budget. By 2030, the budget is likely to grow to $200. Capital outlay forms a large part of the defencebudget, and it is here that JSW sees a big opportunity,” said Sajjan’s son and JSW Group director, Parth Jindal, who has been leading the conglomerate’s new initiatives like defence, cement, paints and sports.
“We are actively pursuing partnerships with global players and Indian startups to introduce the latest military technology across multiple defence equipment segments. Our endeavour shall be to bring in niche technologies to fill in the capability gaps of Indian Armed Forces and partner with our soldiers in the line of combat,” he said.
Gecko was created in 2021 by folding lead promoter Jaskirat Singh Nagra’s specialist vehicle manufacturing business into it. “We saw a great opportunity for extreme mobility vehicles in the Indian market. It was a perfect alignment of goals and sheer good fortune that JSW Group’s entry into the Defence sector and our plans aligned to enable this partnership to evolve. With JSW’s entry, JSW Gecko is very well positioned to leverage the immense potential the extreme mobility sector presents,” said Nagra.
According to the company’s statement, JSW Defence has a vision for the future. It aspires to provide cutting-edge equipment to the Indian Armed Forces and position itself as a significant player on the global stage.