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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Swiss knife maker takes on India
By Habib Beary
BBC correspondent in Bangalore

Swiss knife maker Victorinox is planning to tap into a traditional Indian market.

Sikh men in traditional clothing
Victorinox hope their knife-making skills will be of use to Sikhs
They hope to sell the customary knives carried by Sikh and Gurkha communities in India.

A company representative said work was already underway to design traditional knives in the country.

Victorinox have started designing the brass and enamel-plated handles for the traditional "Kirpan" worn by Sikhs.

Anish Goel, who represents Victorinox in India, said the work is being carried out at a unit in the commercial capital Bombay, also known as Mumbai.


He said the blades for the knives would be manufactured in Switzerland.

Mr Goel said company officials have met leaders of the Sikh community in India and they have had an encouraging response.

"Our next target is the Gurkhas, another community associated with knives," Mr Goel told the BBC.

Gurkhas carry traditional "Khukri" knives and are known for their bravery.

India and the UK have army regiments named after this community hailing from Nepal.

"We are targeting a growth of 20% this year," Mr Goel said.

He said the company - best known for the production of 'Swiss Army' pocket knives - sold about 30,000 knives in India last year.

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