I Feel that a Higher FDI Limit Would Certainly Encourage Investment. A Genuine Joint Venture is 50:50
Minister for defence equipment, support & technology, United Kingdom, Philip Dunne
Phillip DunneHow is your ministry helping the UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) reach out to their counterparts in India, both in terms of policy and guidance?
We believe that much of the innovation in the defence market comes through the SMEs, in fact, there have been several instances of SMEs in the civil market developing applications for military use. Hence, as a starting point, we are determined to ensure that we integrate the SMEs within our own supply chain in the UK. Additionally, the government has the challenging task to see that in our own procurements, the share of the SMEs increase. In trying to develop the export markets for the SMEs, India is very important, being the largest defence market for us. You have some very well-established prime contractors, with whom the British SMEs can work.

One of the things that I did when I came to Aero India 2013 in February was to encourage the development of the relationship between trade bodies of the two countries, the UK’sAerospace, Defence, Security & Space Industries(ADS) and India’s Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).I am a strong supporter of this structure that provides a platform for dialogue between the Indian and the UK defence companies.

The second thing that I want to mention is that the British prime contractors are looking tocooperate with the Indian prime contractors on collaborative projects in providing access to each other’s supply chain and in promoting British SMEs to work alongside their Indian counterparts.

One of the challenges that we face is offsets. We do not have offset requirements in our country for things that we buy from other nations. We have a very open procurement policy under this government which was set out in the White Paper that we published 18 months ago. It made it clear that we were not tied to buying British equipment, other than the major platforms which require sovereign capabilities. We respect the fact that each nation that has a defence industry would retain some amount of sovereign capability. We are very open, perhaps more open than any other defence industry when it comes to buying from other nations. We always encourage the primes from other nations to seek the UK marketplace and invest in the UK market. We have a policy which we call defence and security international engagement policy where we are encouraging primes in other countries to sign up to this policy, which would then make them approved contractors. This shows our commitment to the defence industry. Rheinmetall of industry has just come on board this programme. In due course, if any of the Indian primes would like to do business here, I would strongly encourage them to consider this programme.

Are you satisfied with the level of engagement that the UK SMEs have with the Indian companies?
Events like these (DSEI) are a good forum to bring companies together; to help develop ideas together. For this reason, we are very keen to ensure a good British turn-out at DefExponext year.
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