BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Make-In-India’ concept echoed at the five-day defence and aerospace exposition - Aero India 2015, that ended in the city on Sunday.
Going by the enthusiasm shown by Indian and foreign firms, the 10th edition of Aero India was successful, at least to the extent of bringing various firms on one platform to discuss and announce projects to start making various products in India. Though no mega deals were announced at the event, many firms announced their MoUs and partnerships.
“The show got a tremendous response from exhibitors. A number of MoUs were signed to make various defence equipment in India. The results will be visible in the next few months,” a senior officer from the Ministry of Defence told Express.
Modi, who inaugurated the show on Wednesday, set the ball rolling by making a strong pitch for indigenisation in defence sector and said: “India no longer wants to be the Number 1 importer.”
He sent a strong signal to the public sector undertakings to improve their performance and asked foreign firms not to just sell their products, but to be strategic allies and make products in India.
The momentum set by the Prime Minister was followed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who unlike most of his predecessors, camped in the city for the first two days. He held a series of meetings with industry representatives and exhibitors. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had organised an interactive session with the Minister, while experts from government and the private sector took part in a three-day seminar organised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The presence of defence ministers, ministerial delegations, ambassadors and senior officers from armed forces belonging to many countries was the other highlight of the event.
For the first time, several state governments used Aero India as a platform to woo investors.
While Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made a strong pitch for ‘Make-in-Karnataka’ during his address at the inaugural ceremony, his officers followed it up by having a series of meetings with many foreign firms like Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Sikorsky and others.
Karnataka, being the hub of aerospace in India, is bullish on reaping the biggest harvest of the ‘Make-In-India’ concept in the defence and aerospace sector.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu joined the race with his Karnataka counterpart in laying out a red carpet for international firms. “We will provide you the best of facilities and time-bound approvals,” he told industry representatives.
Ministers from Telangana and Madhya Pradesh too were present to look for possible investment opportunities for their states.
Platform Came At A Price
On day one of the show, the Prime Minister said Aero India is not a trade fair, but a platform for Indian firms. Many exhibitors, however, said such a platform was too expensive this time. “They have increased the charges steeply and services provided were not up to the mark. The show should not become an event to make money, but it should truly be a platform to encourage Indian firms,” said an exhibitor.
Defence Ministry officials, however, said the differential pricing between Indian and foreign firms created some confusion. “Any exhibitor who wants good services should be willing to pay for it,” the officer added.
Major partnerships and MoUs
- Kalyani Group and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited form a joint venture company to make missiles, remote weapon systems and advanced armour solutions, in India.
- Snecma (Safran) and HAL MoU to establish a JV to manufacture high-tech parts for Snecma M88 engine and other projects of HAL and Snecma.
- City-based Alpha Design Technologies’ $80 million MoU with Elbit-Elop (Israel)
- Karnataka Government offers an exclusive industrial estate to Israeli companies outside Bengaluru with required infrastructure.
- Zen Technologies and Rockwell Collins unveiled a next generation rotary wing simulator. They had signed an MoU recently.
- BAE Systems secured a five-year contract (GBP 18.5 million) to provide HAL ground support equipment, spares, support and training for the Hawk Mk132 advanced jet trainer.
- Dynamatic Technologies handed over the first major aero structures for the Bell 407GX/GT to Bell Helicopter. Bell Helicopter, Textron India (TIPL) and Dynamatic Technologies have been working together since 2012.