Ashok Leyland, Paramount ink defence deal

Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer inks multi-million dollar deal with South African defence systems manufacturer.

A multi-million dollar deal with India's Ashok Leyland will see South African defence systems manufacturer Paramount Group developing its second joint assembly plant outside the country, reports PTI.

Paramount already has a joint assembly plant in Azerbaijan. Leyland and Paramount inked a deal at Defexpo 2010 in New Delhi last week.

According to the terms of the agreement, the two companies will manufacture mine-protected armoured vehicles at a joint plant to be constructed in India, an African daily reported, quoting an unnamed Paramount spokesman.

Ashok Leyland will invest more than $10 million in the plant over the next year before the first vehicle comes off the line.

"Initially, basic components manufactured in South Africa would be used to assemble the vehicles in India before the production line there starts making all components," the report said.

The new vehicle, dubbed Stallion, will combine the specification of two Paramount mine-resistant vehicles, the Marauder and the Matador, with Ashok Leyland's basic four-wheel-drive military vehicles.

Paramount is one of South Africa's leading defence systems contractors, providing defence, peace-keeping and internal security solutions to government agencies worldwide.

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    Indian banks' exposure to Dubai limited, says RBI

    RBI deputy governor plays down impact of crisis-hit Dubai World on Indian banks

    A senior official of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that the exposure of Indian banks to crisis-hit Dubai World is in the range of $275-300 million and it will not have any material impact on the sector's performance this year, reports PTI.

    "About four or five Indian banks are owed a combined $275-300 million. The RBI is fully aware of the exposure and we do not think it will have any huge impact on any bank in particular," RBI Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty told media persons on Monday.

    Commenting on the impact of the global crisis on the UAE and Dubai, Mr Chakrabarty said the Gulf country's government and the Central Bank have taken effective measures and there is no reason to panic.

    On granting licences to foreign banks to open branches in India, Mr Chakrabarty said it will be decided on a reciprocal basis.

    A number of UAE-based banks have shown interest to start operations in India and large lenders like the State Bank of India are also keen to set up branches in the Gulf country.

    Speaking at a meet organised by the Emirates Bankers Forum at the Dubai International Financial Centre, Mr Chakrabarty said India was less impacted by the global financial crisis because of its conservative monetary and fiscal policies.
    "We are not claiming that we had any special formula. It is a combination of prudent monetary and fiscal policies and to a great extent, good luck that helped India withstand the crisis," he said.

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