Malawi is in discussions with India’s Ashok Leyland over the potential supply of up to 500 vehicles for military and civil purposes, covering everything from armoured personnel carriers to fuel trucks.
The Nyasa Times reports that the Malawi Defence Force is looking to acquire armoured personnel carriers, light trucks, fuel tankers, field ambulances, water bowsers, buses and logistics vehicles to replace its Tata-made military fleet, which was also acquired from India a decade ago. The new vehicles would cost around $45 million.
Officials from Ashok Leyland visited Malawi to discuss the deal in March, the newspaper reported. Former Malawi Deputy Defence Minister Malison Ndau was reported as seeking to replace the military’s vehicle fleet. Malawi contributes vehicles and personnel to the United Nations’ Monusco mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). New vehicles would also be a good fit for the military’s new mountain force.
Ashok Leyland has done substantial business in Africa, last year delivered more than 600 vehicles including buses, trucks, water tankers, fuel tankers, fire engines, ambulances and commercial vehicles to Zimbabwe’s military, and has supplied nearly 800 vehicles to Tanzania’s defence force. Other African recipients include Kenya, Djibouti, Botswana and the Seychelles.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Malawi has acquired four ex-British Army Gazelle helicopters, which appear to have been delivered by Paramount Group. Two were first seen in Malawi Defence Force Air Wing colours last year.
Paramount has previously supplied equipment to Malawi. In November 2013 the Malawi Defence Force Marine Unit commissioned seven new Guardian BR850 interceptor boats from Nautic Africa, in which Paramount has a majority stake, and in 2013 Malawi received six Marauder armoured personnel carriers, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).