War Profiteer of the Month: Mahindra


The Mahindra Group is a large industrial conglomerate in India, with operations in the automotive, farm equipment, financial services, trade and logistics, automotive components, after-market, IT and infrastructure sectors. It is considered to be one of the most reputable Indian industrial houses, with the market leadership in Utility Vehicles as well as Tractors in India. The Mahindra Group has a global presence with operations on every continent except Antarctica. Their headquarters are located at Mahindra Towers in Mumbai.


Mahindra & Mohammed was originally incorporated in 1945 by KC Mahindra and Ghulam Mohammad as a manufacturer under license of the famous Willys Jeep. Following the Partition of India in 1947, Ghulam Mohammad left the company and emigrated to Pakistan, becoming the first finance minister of the new state. In 1948, KC Mahindra changed the name to Mahindra & Mahindra, and building on his expertise in the steel industry began trading steel with UK suppliers. By 1956, the company was listed on the Mumbay Stock Exchange, and by 1969 the company had entered the world market as an exporter of Utility Vehicles and spare parts. Due to the restrictions of the License Raj like many Indian companies Mahindra & Mahindra was forced to expand into other businesses, and expand it did, creating a tractor division in 1982 and a tech division (Now Tech Mahindra) in 1986. It has continued to diversify its operations ever since through both joint ventures and Greenfield investments. By 1994 the structure of the group had become so bloated and the group so diverse that a fundamental reorganization of the company was undertaken, dividing the group into six Strategic Business Units;Automotive, Farm Equipment, Infrastructure, Trade and Financial Services, Information Technology and Automotive Components (Systech). The new Managing Director Anand Mahindra followed this reorganization with a new logo in 2000 and the successful launch of the Mahindra Scorpio (a wholly indigenously designed vehicle) in 2002. In conjunction with an overhaul in production and manufacturing methods these changes did much to make the company more competitive. The US based Reputation Institute recently ranked Mahindra among the top 10 Indian companies in its 'Global 200: The World's Best Corporate Reputations' list. As of 2007 it was also ranked one of India’s 40 largest companies.

Mahindra Defence Systems

Mahindra Defence Systems is a division of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., a group which is one of the top ten industrial houses in India and ranked in the Top 200 list of the World's Most Reputable Companies by Forbes. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (www.mahindra.com) has had a relationship with the Armed Forces for 60 years. Mahindra Defence Systems has one of the largest up-armouring facilities in Asia.

Their focus is to provide vehicles to be used in conflict zones, according to their own words: “The security situation is degenerating. There is a quantum increase in counter-insurgency situations; hence more security forces are deployed on operational tasks in such areas. Threats to VIPs on the rise, therefore the need for discrete protection for VIPs while on the move. Threat to persons of high net worth. Increasing need to protect high value assets, particularly cash in transit".

The vehicles they provide include:

  • Operational for security forces (Rakshak)
  • Discrete for VIP movement (up-Armoured Scorpio and up-Armoured Bolero)
  • For high value asset protection (Cash in transit van)

They provide up-armouring on Mahindra vehicles as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), this implies OEM warranties and quality. We also up-armour most of other vehicles as specified by the customers. Our up-armoured products are field tested and in service with:

  • Indian Armed Forces
  • Paramilitary and Police Forces of various states in India
  • Security Forces of various foreign countries

Mahindra is one of the main companies involved in the new development of the Indian defence industry of forming joint ventures and has linked internationally with BAE Systems for land-based armament systems and with a subsidiary of Italian Finmecanica for underwater systems. This new development are explained by D Raghunandan that “the defence industry in India had traditionally been dominated by the state-sector. Starting from the 1990s when India embarked on the path of liberalization, involvement of the private sector in India has been gaining momentum. In 2001, government formally decided to encourage private sector participation in defence production subject to licensing and also allowed up to 26% FDI in such firms. Over the years, even though the Indian private sector as a whole received only 9% of total military orders or around $700 million annually, a few engineering majors have emerged as important players executing sub-contracted work even in strategic areas. Given the anticipated offsets boom, there is now a scramble to set up joint venture firms with international armaments firms who are expected to bring in capital but more importantly technology and capability.

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