Ex-M&M partner Navistar to supply Defense Trucks to Pakistan

Navistar, the US-based truck major who had a joint venture with tractor and utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra, has bagged a contract to supply armoured trucks to the Pakistan Army

Navistar, the US-based truck major who had a joint venture with tractor and utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra, has bagged a contract to supply armoured trucks to the Pakistan Army.

The US Department of Defense issued a USD 35 million contract for supplying 40 MaxxPro Dash DXM mine-resistant, armoured trucks to Pakistan.

While Indian companies are ramping up their presence across several armies around the world they are, however, barred from supplying defence products to Pakistan. Exports of passenger vehicles to the neighbouring country, too, are banned.

Mahindra and Navistar had a long running partnership for two joint ventures in India that made trucks, buses and high capacity diesel engines. The JV developed trucks from scratch for the Indian market under the brand Mahindra Navistar.

In 2012, however, the US company expressed its willingness to exit the joint ventures as it wanted to focus on the US market. In the following year M&M purchased Navistar’s stakes in the two JVs for an undisclosed sum.

Break-up of the Mahindra-Navistar JV could be partly attributed to the fact that Navistar wanted to pursue international military contracts including those emerging from Pakistan awarded by the US. Such deals could have progressively created hurdles for M&M’s very own defence ambitions.

Pakistan has been using mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles as part of its claimed counter insurgency operations in the federally administered tribal areas (FATA). Pakistan had sought surplus MRAPs from US stocks in Afghanistan under the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme. However, they failed to materialise.

Mahindra, meanwhile, is aggressively bidding for Indian defence contracts chasing deals meant to serve all the three units Army, Airforce and Navy. The Mumbai-based company has also bid for the mammoth Rs 60,000 crore contract to build 2,600 units of Future Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV). Tata Motors is amongst the other bidders for the project.

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