Self Reliance for Success
CII and CAPS discuss opportunities and challenges in the Indian aerospace sector

Self Reliance for Success

India is planning to spend USD 150 billion for the Indian Air Force (IAF) acquisitions in the next 15 years. With such high spending by the government envisaged, it is only logical to push for the indigenous capabilities in the aerospace industry. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is the only active aerospace manufacturer in India currently, and although it started well with Marut and Intermediate Jet trainers, the design capabilities fell drastically over the years. It is unfortunate that the Indian industry can’t even provide basic trainer aircraft to the IAF; Pilatus PC-7 is procured from Switzerland for IAF basic training purposes. “I am sad to say that we import basic equipment like the washers and the nuts,” said Air Marshal P.P. Reddy, director general (Inspection and Safety) said. Of course, there are numerous challenges but at the same time many more opportunities for the aerospace industry. For example, the involvement of Indian private sector in the co-development and co-production with the global leaders can make a lot of difference. Sadly, there is no backing from the policy makers.

Addressing all these concerns, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) along with Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) organised a conference that focussed solely on ‘Energising Indian Aerospace Industry’. “A conference like this permits interaction between the user and the maker,” said Air Marshal Vinod Patney (retd), director, CAPS, said in his opening statement. The two-day conference has seen wide participation from the IAF and also the aerospace manufacturing industry, both local and foreign. However, the biggest drawback with the conference was the lack of participation from the policy makers. Acknowledging this drawback, Air Marshal Patney immediately assured, “The recommendations will be passed on to those (decision makers) that matter.”
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