Runway to billion opportunities: Nirmala Sitharaman
Bengaluru: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman listed a slew of factors which could be utilized by investors to perk up manufacturing in aero space and other sectors in the country through the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
"The contribution in aero-space from this part of India (Bengaluru) is very high. Start-ups are making a very big difference in the aero-space industry," she told head honchos of aerospace and defence firms from more than 50 nations while inaugurating Aero India 2019 here on Wednesday. In addition, investors could also make the most of the policy to permit cent per cent FDI in the defence sector and capitalise on the ecosystem prevailing in aerospace and other segments which could augment manufacturing in the country.
She said air show intends to put India on the global map, and metaphorically to be a “Runway to a billion opportunities”. It showcases the country’s extraordinary progress and powers over the years in the sectors of civil and defence aviation.
Noting that India has manufactured till date more than 4,000 aircraft, she said there was a "great possibility" for the Original Equipment Manufactuters (OEM)s from abroad to come and find joint venture partners. The OEMs have a "captive market" and they could scale up production, besides exporting from the country which had a robust supply chain with 10,000 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs who make 80% of the components, aggregates and assemblies of complex weapon system and aircraft, she added.
The five-day event, which witnessed participation by a significant number of aircraft manufacturers, fighter jet makers, aviation technology developers and defence equipment companies from round the globe, paid homage to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi who died when two aircraft of Surya Kiran Acrobatic Team (SKAT) collided mid-air on Tuesday. While three aircraft of the IAF—a Su-30 MKI, a Jaguar and a ‘Tejas’—flew in ‘Missing man’ formation, a pilot of the French Air Force carried out a special manoeuver in his Rafale jet to pay homage to Wing Commander Gandhi.
In view of the crash on the eve of the inaugural, the IAF requested invitees not to panic in the event of a mishap during the air display which included two vintage-a Dakota of the IAF and Boeing’s B-52 bomber-besides several helicopters, fighter jets, and a commercial aircraft.
In his address, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman’s cabinet colleague and civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu, too, spoke of the need for partnerships to manufacture aircraft in India to make the most of the boom in the civil aviation market.