PM Flags off Asia’s Premier Air Show at Bengaluru Air-Force Base

By Sarkaritel February 20, 2015 10:20

PM Flags off Asia’s Premier Air Show at Bengaluru Air-Force Base

By Ameya Sathaye and TN Ashok ( Ameya spot reporting from Bengaluru)

Bengaluru (Karnataka-India), Feb 18: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged-off Asia’s premier air show, “Aero India”, in Bangalore declaring that his government would announce a slew of meausres to encourage foreign manufacturers to produce defence equipment in India.


The Bengaluru air show at the Indian Air Force Base at Yelahanka air strip is billed as Asia’s biggest aviation show where over 300 foreign firms are vying to align with Make in India campaign the burgeoning multi-billion dollar Indian defence market.

The Prime Minister told the vast number of foreign participants at the air show:“We will build an industry that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector and foreign firms. From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners. We need their technology, skills, systems integration and manufacturing strength.

This is considered to be Prime Minister Modi biggest ever pitch to a core defense industry gathering for his Make in India policy. “We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment in the world. That may be music to the ears of some of you here. But, this is one area where we would not like to be Number One!’’ he said.

“It will be no longer enough to buy equipment and simply assemble them here. We have been doing this in the past, without absorbing any technology or developing our own capabilities. In some areas, we are where we were three decades ago,’’ he said.

The 10th edition of the biennial five-day international edition of the aerospace and aviation exhibition inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased India’s air prowess and sought investments from global aerospace firms to realise Modi-led NDA Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme in the strategic defence sector.

Modi said that a strong Indian defence industry will not only make India more secure. It will also make India more prosperous. Dwelling on his pet Make in India campaign, he told foreign manufacturers, “We want to develop an industry that is dynamic. It should constantly stay at the cutting edge of the global industry. This is the beginning of a new era for the defence industry in India. ”

“Our defence industry will succeed more if we can transform the manufacturing sector in India,” he said.

The Prime Minister also assured a better tax system for the investors saying  “We must ensure that our tax system does not discriminate against domestic manufacture in comparison to imports.”

Stating scientists had a great role to play, Modi said, ” We must involve our scientists soldiers, academia, industry and independent experts more closely in research and development.” “We are focusing on developing India’s defense industry with a sense of mission. This is why it is at the heart of Make in India campaign. If we could raise percentage of domestic procurement from 40 per cent to 70 per cent in next 5 years we would double the output in our defense industry. ”

Prime Minister observed that the Bengaluru air show was  a mega meeting of one of the largest global supply chains with the most advanced technology and complex equipment. “We have to equip ourselves for the needs of the future, where technology will play a major role.”

Modi today became the second Prime Minister to inaugurate the event after HD Deve Gowda in 1996.
More than 50 ministerial and other high-level delegations from overseas are participating in the five day biennial event where over 600 companies, including 295 Indian and 328 foreign companies are participating.

US tops the list of participation with 64 companies at the event, said to be the largest ever air show to be hosted so far in India, in which 33 other countries are taking part. The Prime Minister who spent about three hours at the venue also witnessed a spectacular fly past and aerial aerobatics.

Some of the other important points made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the aero show were : .

·        New reforms apart from already announced measures – like raising Foreign Direct Investment to 49% (and above if state-of-the art technology is involved), Foreign Institutional Investments up to 24 per cent and waiving off of the need to have a single Indian investor with at least a 51% stake – will be needed to put Make in India into mission mode.

·        While nearly 60% of defence equipment needs are imported at the cost of tens of billions of dollars a 20 to 25% reduction in imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India.

·        If the percentage of domestic procurement was raised from 40% to 70% in the next five years, India would double the output in our defense industry.

·        India’s acquisition and approval processes needed to be reformed further . A clear roadmap of our future needs was needed . This must take into account not only new technology trends, but also the nature of future challenges.  The tax system should not discriminate against domestic manufacture in comparison to imports.

·        India needs a vast pool of highly skilled and qualified human resources for the defence industry. India’s  aerospace industry alone would need about 200,000 people in another ten years. Special universities and skill development centres to cater to our defence industry would need to be set up.

·        India will not stop importing defence equipment but the country would like manufacturers to incorporate India in their global supply chain. India’s frugal but sophisticated manufacturing and engineering services sectors can help reduce costs. India can also be a base for export to third countries, especially because of India’s growing defence partnerships in Asia and beyond.

·        The government will be introducing a scheme to provide up to 80% of funding for development of defence equipment prototypes in India as well as a Technology Development Fund accessible to both public and private sector.

·        India’s research and development has been long been confined to government laboratories. Scientists, soldiers, academia, industry and independent experts need to be more closely associated with research and development.

By Sarkaritel February 20, 2015 10:20