JVs, tech transfers top defence expo list for this year

Written by Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 1 2014, 23:27pm hrs
Eyeing a vast opportunity in the $100-billion defence market, international equipment manufacturers from the US, Russia, France, Israel, UK, Sweden and Germany are making a beeline for DefExpo India.

The eighth in the series of biennial land, naval and internal homeland security systems' exhibitions, organised by the ministry of defence from February 6-9, it is expected to promote privatisation and self-reliance in the armed forces. According to the UK-based BAE System's John Brosnan, MD, South East Asia & India,BAE Systems participation at the eighth edition of Defexpo is anchored in a single mantra the firms continued commitment to partner with the Indian government in its journey of military modernization.

Pankaj Dubey, managing director, Polaris India, said: We will be showcasing our performance-packed machines that will add strength to the strategic might of the country's armed forces. Our military vehicles over the years have received an overwhelming response all over the world."

The Airbus Group will showcase a broad selection of cutting-edge products, technologies and services at the show. Since, January 1, 2014, EADS has rebranded and reorganized as Airbus Group. This will be our first international show under the new brand, Yves Guillaume, president (India), Airbus Group told FE. We are investing in expanding our industrial and engineering footprint here because we regard India as a strategic resource hub for the group and not just as a market. It is this message of partnership that we would like to take to our audience here via the show.

The Defexpo is a great opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities, success of current programmes, partnerships and achievements and set the stage for the future," said Lars Olof Lindgren, head for SAAB Defense Industry in India.

The expo will also be a platform for India to push for joint ventures and technology transfers to enhance indigenous capabilities and reduce dependence on imports and strengthen the vast Defence Industrial Base that now consists of 52 research laboratories and establishments, nine defence public sector undertakings and 39 odd ordinance factories and a handful of private firms such as Tatas, Bharat Forge, Punj Lloyd, L&T and RIL.

According to an MoD official, "as India does not have the capability to manufacture high-end defence equipment, Indian vendors will be compelled to enter into joint ventures or technical collaboration arrangements or co-production arrangements with foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

India has repeatedly declared, without setting any timeframe, that it would source 70% of its defence needs indigenously. Foreign OEMs are hence establishing partnerships with Indian defence producers. However, this effort has not triggered high-levels of indigenous production and self-reliance, mainly due to the currently cap of 26% on FDI in defence.