'India is an innovative country with a lot of skilled engineers. That's why we have decided to open an engineering R&D centre here...not only to serve the Indian market or product lines but also to cater to export markets',
Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales Group, to Business Today.
Thales has been present in India since 1953 and has a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary Thales India Pvt Ltd. Headquartered in New Delhi, the company has other operational offices and sites in Gurugram, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, among others. Over 600 employees are working with Thales and its joint ventures in India. Since the beginning, Thales has been playing an essential role in India’s growth story by sharing its technologies and expertise in Defence, Transport and Aerospace markets.
Supporting “Make in India”
Thales strategy of developing its industrial footprint in India is in line with the Indian government’s policy of “Make in India” and of developing the defence base of the country. With this as the backdrop, Thales has formed various co-operative partnerships with public and private sector industries. It has been closely associated with HAL for over 50 years and has formed JVs with Samtel, BEL and L&T Technology Services.
Thales’s “Go to India” approach
Further making the “Make in India” policy concrete and real, Thales has also been co-operating with the Indian private sector particularly large corporate players and SMEs to build transfer of technology and supply chain partnerships. Thales has extensive experience in liaising with numerous group supply chain partners to support the local industry in India and open up growth opportunities for them.
At the heart of Digital Transformation
Thales supports its customers by offering high-level expertise in four key digital technologies: the Internet of Things/connectivity, Big Data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and has accelerated its investments in these technologies.
The acquisition of US-based firm Guavus, among other companies, is structured around these investments. A pioneer in real-time Big Data analytics, Guavus’ technologies and expertise strengthen Thales’ ability to support the digital transformation of our customers. Guavus has strong roots in India – over 130 people in the competence centre in Gurgaon – that add strength to our team here.
Growing with Universities
Collaborating with the world’s most dynamic universities is a key aspect of innovation at Thales. In March 2018, Thales and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras signed an MoU for a jointly supervised PhD fellowship scheme. Thales has formed similar partnerships with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in October 2015, January 2016 and September 2016, respectively. Thales believes that such associations will play a great role in fostering an ecosystem for research and consequently securing innovations for tomorrow.
Socially responsible corporate
In June 2017, Thales Foundation and GeoHazards Society (GHS) launched first-of-its-kind school safety mobile application in India that allows school administrators to ‘write’ a School Disaster Management Plan (SDMP). Besides this, Thales has been supporting various other NGOs in India through local CSR initiatives and also group-level Foundation efforts. Some of them include Kutumbh Foundation, Jagriti, Protsahan, Samarpan Foundation, among others.
India represents a significant market for Thales in both civil and military sectors. The Group’s defence business is recognised as a reliable partner in all three branches of the Indian Armed Forces: Navy, Air Force and Army. Its equipment and systems have been selected for various types of platforms. In the civil domain, Thales has activities in transportation and civil aerospace.
Thales’ local partnerships and joint ventures (JVs) reinforce the company’s commitment to the country.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL): Thales has been working closely with HAL have for over 50 years. Thales has been providing high-end avionics to equip the platforms that HAL is designing. We will continue to develop our partnership with HAL through transfer of technology, when appropriate, to jointly address the growth of Indian Defence Aerospace market.
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL): The JV company was incorporated in August 2014 as BEL-Thales Systems Limited. Thales holds 26% equity in the joint venture, while Bharat Electronics holds 74 % of the stake. The JV is dedicated to the design, development, marketing, supply and support of civilian and select military ground based radars for India and the Global markets. In March 2016, Thales and BEL-Thales Systems Limited (BTSL) signed a partnership agreement for the joint development of the PHAROS fire control radar for gun and missile systems. The jointly developed PHAROS system will cater to both domestic Indian and international market requirements.
Samtel: Thales signed a JV agreement with Samtel in 2008 to locally develop and produce helmet mounted sights and displays, military avionic and airborne sensor systems for the defence market. Samtel Avionics Limited holds 74% of the stake and Thales 26%. The JV is fully operational and the facility is in Noida. The production of displays for the Mirage 2000 upgrade programme by this JV will pave the way for future opportunities to serve local and export markets.
L&T Technology Services: In June 2014, Thales and L&T Technology Services formed a JV with a view to develop software engineering activities in India, particularly in the avionics domain. L&T Technology Services purchased 74% of the equity capital of Thales Software India Pvt. Ltd. By retaining 26% equity stake, Thales helps the company to develop the latest trends in the avionics industry, one of its core businesses.