New Delhi: India’s defence corridor in Uttar Pradeh is all set to get a boost with iconic United Kingdom firearms company Webley & Scott all set to begin production at its facility there, the first such development in 30 months.
The company, which armed the Allied Powers during two World Wars and had produced arms in at least 15 countries, will begin production at its facility in Sandila in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh from this November, becoming the first foreign firm to begin small arms production in India.
In collaboration with Lucknow-based Sial Manufacturers Private Limited, Webley & Scott will manufacture MkIV .32 Pocket Revolvers at the new facility in the first phase of operations, according to a report in the Times of India yesterday.
In the subsequent phases, the two companies plan to produce pistols, airguns, shotguns and relevant ammunition for these small arms at its facilities in India., the report said.
After initiating talks with Sial Manufacturers Private Limited in 2018, Webley & Scott entered into a joint venture and obtained license for small arms from the Government of India in 2019, John Bright, the Birmingham-based co-owner of the British company, was quoted as saying.
The British firm decided to enter the Indian market keeping view the potential and with an idea to expand its business. The joint venture will use the original 1899 design of its .32 pistol MkIV to cater to the Indian market in the initial phase.
Webley & Scott has sent 15 of its experts to Uttar Pradesh to set up its manufacturing facility and that process took four months, Bright was quoted as saying.
The Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ policy was a major contributor for the project to take shape in Uttar Pradesh, Sial Manufacturers Private Limited’s Joginder Pal Singh Sial was quoted as saying.
The joint venture will price the .32 revolver at Rs 160,000 ($ ) and will be a competitor to the small arms that are produced by the state-run ordnance factories in India.
India had announced the setting up of a defence industrial corridor in Uttar Pradesh as part of the budgetary announcement in Feb. 2018 for the financial year 2018-19.