Bolstering the Make in India theme in defence manufacturing, Aero India-2015 — the 10th international edition of the aerospace and aviation exhibition at Bengaluru from February 18-22 — will also include sectors like defence manufacturing and airport infrastructure besides aerospace, defence and civil aviation.
Describing the biennial event organised by Defence Exhibition Organisation (DEO) under the aegis of the ministry of defence as one of the largest premium airshows in Asia, secretary of defence production, G Mohan Kumar outlined the impetus of the Make in India initiative during the forthcoming edition of the event. “We want to set Make in India as the major theme of the exhibition and see progress in the defence sector,” Kumar said at a curtain raiser for Aero India 2015 in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“Towards this, the defence manufacturing investors’ summit and global CEOs conference will be held for the first time. Around 150 CEOs each from foreign and domestic industries have been invited. At least five defence ministers and six military chiefs among the over 60 official delegates from abroad will also be there,” he added.
PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate the premium air show. Besides 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries that are slated to attend the inaugural event, the exhibition will also see participation by over 600 companies, including 295 Indian and 328 foreign companies.
India is expected to spend $120 billion in arms acquisitions over the coming decade, with its 1.5-million strong armed forces still grappling with several operational gaps ranging from fighters and helicopters to artillery and submarines.
Indian private companies, many of whom are tying up with global arms firms, are also keen to enter defence production. The government, on its part, is working to remove bottlenecks for arms exports as well as streamlining the complicated ‘Make’ procedure for indigenous R&D, development and production of weapon systems.
About 600 companies, across defence production, software and services, are participating in Aero India 2015 with a renewed hope of generating business.
Many global aerospace giants like the Boeing Company, Airbus Group, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin and United Technologies Corporation have been scouring the Indian markets, looking for companies they can forge partnerships with.
A BAE Systems team is pushing for a decision on the stalled sale of 144 Howitzers (light guns) to the Indian Army. The company has offered to shift the assembly line (used to make the guns) from the US to India. They have also appointed HDFC group chairman Deepak Parekh as non-executive director and chairman of BAE Systems India.
With 64 companies, US is the leading participant in the exhibition among 33 other countries participating. Others major participants include France (58), UK (48), Russia (41), Israel (25) and Germany (17).
Business-to-business (B2B) and round-table meetings of Indian companies with those of Israel, UK and Poland will also be held at the event. Heads and senior representatives from the Indian Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces besides Service Chiefs from nine foreign countries are also among those attending the event.
For the first time few states who want to be partners in defence production and are keen to set up defence-related industry and SEZz are also participating in the exhibition. These include Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
Speakers from leading Indian Defence Industries including Tata, Mahindra, L&T, Adani, Bharat Forge and Presidents’ of leading Indian Business Chambers (CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and PHD) will also share their vision on defence manufacturing in India.