Berlin Airshow may boost Indias clout in global defence mkt

Written by Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi, Apr 23 | Updated: Apr 25 2008, 03:20am hrs
In a move that proves the growing clout of the countrys defence market worldwide, India has been invited as a partner nation at the ILA Berlin Airshow 2008 scheduled to be held in Berlin, Germany, from May 27 to June 1. This will be the first ever participation by India at any airshow in the world. Leading the Indian delegation, defence minister AK Antony will be leaving for Germany late next month.

During the week-long visit, accompanied by a high-level delegation including defence secretary (production) Pradeep Kumar and 30 other senior officials and Indian Air Force (IAF) officers, the defence minister will hold a bilateral meeting with his German counterpart Dr Franz Josef Jung.

The minister will also inaugurate the show and for the first time have press conference there.

According to the show organisers, India will be the partner country at the ILA-Berlin 2008 and has announced a strong presence at the show. Around 25 companies including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and organisations such as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indias aerospace association SIATI, will be presenting their displays at the major European exhibition for the first time.

Also in a first, HAL will put on display a single-jet trainer, the HJT-36 Sitara, as well as a lightweight fighter and a lightweight civilian and military helicopter, the Dhruv, displaying it on the ground and in the air. On India being a partner country, Antony said that, ILA Berlin is a prestigious air show not only makes it possible for Indias aviation industry to show the full range of its products and services, but also provides an opportunity for negotiating business. According to president of the German Aerospace Industries Association Dr Thomas Enders, India is one of the worlds most dynamic economies and one of the biggest growth markets in the aviation sector and its above-average growth offers an enormous potential for business with the aviation industries of Germany and

Europe.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that over the next five years aviation in India will grow by an annual rate of up to 10 %. According to a 2007 survey by Airbus, India will require more than 900 aircraft seating over 100 passengers by 2025, he added.

In many sectors Indias aerospace industry is already world-class, Enders added. Our aim is to collaborate even more closely in the future, to set up long-term partnerships which will benefit both sides.

Currently, several German aerospace companies are already in partnerships and joint ventures with Indian firms. EADS/Airbus/Eurocopter, Diehl Aerospace for example is collaborating with Accord from India on developing software. MTU Aero Engines has already been working together successfully with Indian airlines in MRO. RUAG and HAL are partners constructing the Dornier 228.

Liebherr Aerospace of Germany has plans for future ventures with Indian companies to build air-conditioning, flight control systems and undercarriage.

The show is organised jointly by the German Aerospace Industries Association and Messe Berlin GmbH, and takes place every two years at Berlin-Schnefeld Airport.