Cassidian, the defence and security division of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), is developing its Indian operations into a ‘regional hub’ for tapping growth opportunities in the Asia-Pacific markets. Recently, the company appointed Peter Gutsmiedl as the first head of Asia-Pacific in addition to his role as CEO India. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Huma Siddiqui.
You have been given an additional responsibility. How does that change your role?
As head of Asia-Pacific, I am now also responsible for expanding Cassidian’s Indian operations into a regional hub. This additional task reflects a realignment of our global business structure. To better tap growth opportunities, Cassidian has reorganised its newly integrated sales and international operations division along the lines of three major regions — Asia-Pacific, Americas and EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa). Within Asia, India plays a strategic role and continues to be our main focus. But we see considerable additional potential in this region. Using our India operations as a springboard to spread our reach across the Asia-Pacific region will further enhance India’s importance for Cassidian.
In 2011, Cassidian inaugurated India’s first defence-oriented engineering centre owned by a foreign company in Bengaluru. How satisfied are you with its progress?
I am very satisfied with what we have achieved. We have made a lot of progress towards integrating Bengaluru into Cassidian’s global technology network. Some examples will give you an idea of the cutting-edge work underway at this centre: Our staff there designed and engineered a high accuracy air pressure measurement system. This critical on-board sensor provides pilots with highly accurate altitude readings. This contributes to a safe operation of the aircraft in reduced vertical separation minimum fly zones. We also engineered a structurally integrated antenna for satellite and GPS communication in military aircraft. This technology helps reduce aerodynamic drag and enhances stealth of aircraft.
Both examples underline our endeavor to develop Cassidian’s Indian engineering centre into a global ‘centre of excellence’ for certain defence and security technologies. Importantly, the engineering capabilities we have established here also allow us to customise global products to local requirements, in close collaboration with the customer. This gives us a competitive advantage in India, and potentially also in other regional markets which we could support from here.
Cassidian’s stated goal is to have a comprehensive partnership with India, which does not treat the country as a mere market. Have you managed to establish such a partnership?
It is true