UAE firm Caracal to bring small arms portfolio under Make in India, looks to salvage Army deal

By The Print

UAE’s state-owned small arms firm Caracal said it is bringing its entire portfolio of products under the ‘Make in India’ initiative as the country stepped up diplomatic efforts to salvage an Army contract for over 93,000 close quarter battle rifles (carbines).

Although the Army contract won was under Fast Track Procurement (FTP), the deal is yet to be inked. The defence ministry had in September taken an in-principle decision to scrap the contract in favour of making such rifles in India rather than procuring them from abroad.

After being declared as the lowest bidder (L1) in 2018, we remain committed towards this contract. We have seen that this is not the first time that Indian Defence Ministry is taking time to finalise the contract after an L1 has been declared,” CEO of Caracal, Hamad Salem Al Ameri told ThePrint in an interview.

He added that Caracal is “counting on the relationship between two governments”.

Underlining that the contract was “still alive”, Al Ameri said, “So far we feel very positive about the contract. Yes, this is our first entry into the Indian market. We knew it would take time to get this through, The offer and contract is still alive. Officially, everything is still on in the right direction”.

He added that relations between the UAE and India is much much bigger than this contract and that “a lot of defence and security cooperation is on”.

Diplomatic push 

In September, the UAE ambassador to India met with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to discuss the contract just days after ThePrint reported India’s in-principle decision to cancel it. The UAE also pushed for the deal during the recent visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to the country.

Meanwhile, the delivery of 72,400 American SiG 716 G2 battle rifles, which was agreed upon at the same time that Caracal won the bid in 2018, has been completed and the Indian Army has moved ahead with a follow-up order.

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