The government on Tuesday said the ‘America First’ call of US President Donald Trump was not a concern for India or the ‘Make in India’ programme.
Responding to media queries if Trump’s ‘America First’ would come in the way of ‘Make in India’ and stop US firms from participating in the programme, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said: “You should have put this question to Boeing, they are there at the exhibition… Boeing, Lockheed Martin etc. What I will say is what I want… I want you to make in India; if someone wants to shift production to someplace else, it is his choice.”
“I am not concerned,” he said, adding that he has so far just heard of it, and there has been no official communication from the US government.
Explaining it further, the minister said: “The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) helping a strategic partner will need their government’s approval. If they are proposing something, their government will give them in-principle approval so that they can quote. The company will not be able to quote, maybe their some other branch will quote.”
Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, meanwhile, said Boeing was already manufacturing beams in Nagpur, and HAL is making doors for Airbus. “Aviation manufacturing is crossing a lot of countries, so it is better to ask the companies what their stand is,” Raju said.
Parrikar also announced that the decision on many big-ticket projects like procuring the much-awaited fighter jet planes and self-propelled guns is likely to be taken this year. He said work on a second manufacturing line for indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will also commence in the next three months to boost production.
“Many of the private-sector projects like SP (self-propelled) gun, C-295 (Airbus transporter aircraft) and even single and twin-engine fighter jets are in an advanced stage of decision making. We expect to get these in line during the current calender year,” he said in response to a question.
Parrikar said HAL has been asked to outsource in “large quantity” several production areas in various sectors. “For example, for the LCA model we are putting up a second (production) line for which R359 crore has been approved by the government. It is expected this work will start in three months.
“In about one-and-a-half years the actual production will start. A lot of indigenous capability has to be developed through the local industry,” the defence minister said.
While inaugurating the 11th edition of Aero India, Parrikar earlier said: “We encourage Indian companies in defence manufacturing, but we would also like to encourage foreign companies. The government is working on ways to increase private player participation in defence manufacturing.”