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Aero India: PM Modi pitches for ‘Make in India’ in defence sector

New Delhi: Asia’s premier air show, “Aero India”, started in Bengaluru on Wednesday with global armament majors eyeing the multi-billion dollar Indian defence market, seeking to align with the “Make in India” campaign of the Narendra Modigovernment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the event. He is secondPrime Minister to inaugurate the event after H D Deve Gowda in 1996.

Speaking in the event, Modi said that this air show reflects new level of confidence within India. He said that India will do all it can do to increase it’s defence capability.

Stressing on the importance of the show, PM said , ‘It’s a platform to launch India’s defence manufacturing sector,boost investment,raise tech level and increase economic growth in country.’

PM Modi said that the government is looking to reform defence procurement facilities in the country.

PM said that Defence output will double if domestic procurement goes up from 40 pc to 70 pc in next five years.  According to him, it will be heart of Make in India.  Modi said that government must ensure that our tax system does not discriminate against domestic manufacturer in comparison to imports.  PM said that they will build an industry that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector and foreign firms.

Over 300 foreign firms along with 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries will be taking part in this year’s event, said to be the largest ever air show to be hosted so far in India. The US with 64 companies will have the largest presence at the show in which 33 other countries are taking part. Behind the US is France with 58 companies, UK 48, Russia 41, Israel 25 and Germany 17, organisers said.

Seven of the 11 foreign military aircraft on display will be American – two F-15C Eagles, two F-16C Fighting Falcons, one Boeing KC-135 tanker, one C-17 Globemaster III and a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.
Three Rafale fighters of French giant Dassault- shortlisted for acquisition by the IAF – will fly aerobatics displays. Negotiations over the deal for 126 aircraft are facing rough weather with efforts underway to resolve it.

India’s Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas” will be participating in the formation flight display, Defence Research and Development Organisation officials said.

HAL has said Advanced Light Helicopter – Weapon System Integration (ALH-WSI) Rudra, ALH Skid Utility, LCH and the first series production Light Combat Aircraft (SP1) will be on static display. In another significant dimension, a high level Israeli delegation, including senior Ministry of Defence officials, led by Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon will be in attendance at the show, preceding their high-level meetings in Delhi, as the two countries warm upto to a new level of relationship. Israel ranks among India’s top three defence equipment suppliers after US and Russia.

With the Modi government seeking to give a greater thrust to its “Make in India” campaign, a Defence manufacturing investors summit and global CEO’s conference, to be chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, is also being held.

Organisers are also gearing up for the record turnout during the five day event expecting over three lakh visitors this time, almost double the figure of 2013. Bengaluru has come under thick security blanket ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit as also the hotels where foreign delegations are staying in large numbers.

The event slated as one of the largest premium air shows in Asia, will see participation by over 600 firms including 295 Indian and 328 foreign, officials said. The number of aircraft participating in static and air displays is tentatively 72. Indian Air Force’s Sarang Team and air display teams from Sweden, UK, Czech Republic and open sky jump by USA Special Forces will dazzle the Bengaluru skies with their daredevil aerobatics.

With PTI inputs