March 29, 2012
In a candid exclusive interview to Aerospace Diary at the Defexpo today, Ravi Rishi, Chairman of Vectra Group, the largest shareholder of Tatra trucks, said: “We will sell to our not so friendly neighbors who have been knocking at our door for over six months now.”
Rishi was reacting to the recent controversy in which Army Chief General VK Singh claimed he was offered a bribe to clear the purchase of Tatra trucks two years ago.
“We had written to the secretary of defense (To ask for permission to export) when a request came from a Czech company to supply a neighboring unfriendly country (we read that as Pakistan). He threatened to blacklist us,” added Rishi.
Tatra has supplied around 7000 trucks to India of different models. “Hundred percent of trucks on the borders are Tatras,” Rishi adds.
Having passed out of IIT Delhi, Rishi designed the 12 x12 Tatra vehicles for mobile launchers of the BrahMos. Fifty are on order. “They are customized and nobody can duplicate them.” Rishi says confidently.
Delays in procurement are hurting India. “As somebody said, the product gets obsolete by the time it is ordered,” he adds.Unfortunately, this kind of thing puts vendors off. Because here in India, you need more patience….”