The conference on Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Technologies organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with the theme ‘Make in India—Fast Developing Ecosystem for Aerospace and Defence Industry’ called for an active involvement of Indian and foreign companies in the creation of an ecosystem that could go a long way towards establishing a solid base for the nation’s defence and economic systems that needed a sustained acceleration.

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 Jayakar Krishnamurthy, Conference Chairman & Chairman and Managing Director, UCAL, said that the aerospace and defence needed four major things  for growth, which included a vast land mass, abundant natural resources, sustainable population around and distribution of equitable economic growth.

He also said that the defence spending by Russia stood at $ 84 billion whereas the US spent $ 610 billion. The same way  nations like Germany, Japan, UK and Israel spent $ 41 billion, $46 billion, $48 billion and $ 17 billion respectively on defence. He said that India spent $ 56 billion on defence notwithstanding its large size in area and population density. But when we compare on the R & D investment, Israel tops the list with 4.3% whereas India is the lowest at 0.9%. It is impossible for India to keep importing Defence equipments without making R & D investments. So he urged that the investments in R & D will lead to sustainable economic and defence growth.

Stating that India needed to develop an ecosystem similar to that of successful automotive industry model which comprises Tier 1,Tier 2, Tier 3 and R & D. He wanted a proper policy evolved in the sphere of “Design & Make in India” which would be the right way forward.

B Elangovan, Managing Director, Tidel Park Limited, said Tamil Nadu has emerged one of the leaders in manufacturing sector what with its ecosystem allowing automobile majors set up shops in the state and thereby making Chennai as the Detroit of India.

Stressing on the importance of aerospace sector, he said there are 120 units in aerospace with 700 suppliers in the arena. “India is emerging as a country with the highest rate of spending on defence and aerospace with as many airlines ordering 700 aircraft in the last few months,’’ he said and added,  “Chennai Aerospace Park in Sriperumbudur situated on a 250 acre site would have in it 50 aerospace companies with a business opportunity for Rs 5000 crore.’’

Anil Kumar, General Manager, Engine Factory, Avadi, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, said that there are 41 companies in the manufacture of automated combat vehicles, rockets and equipment for the defence force. He wanted public and private sector to involve themselves in the manufacturing of defence-related things, besides formulating an ecosystem for major indigenisation without relying much on imports.

Retired Vice-Admiral B Kannan, Managing Director & CEO, L & T Shipbuilding Limited, also stressed on an ecosystem with a strong base for indigenisation, manpower, financial empowerment and enabling a digital technology for enhanced productivity.

Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary, Industries Department, Government of Odisha, said that people always merited his State as the land of opportunities and considered the place as the Eastern gateway to ASEAN. “Odisha has a large pool of skilled manpower and the biggest land mass for industrial estates and major industries in steel, aluminium and other ores for industrial purpose,’’  he said and added, “The integrated test range in Chandipur and Balasore also acted as investment destinations for the companies in the aerospace and defence sectors.’’

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