Air Chief calls for technology roadmap for aerospace industry

November 14th, 2007 - 2:50 am ICT by admin  
He was speaking at the two-day 2nd International Conference on “Energising Indian Aerospace Industry: New Partnership, New Opportunities,” organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with Society for Aerospace Studies, Centre for Airpower Studies and Indian Air Force here.

In his inaugural address, the Air Chief Marshal said, as new technologies are altering warfare tactics, it was important for the Indian aerospace industry to have a strong R and D infrastructure backed by quality players with dedication, motivation, spirit of teamwork and world class education. Talking about skilled workforce, he also stressed on the importance of attracting and retaining the talent pool with adequate incentives.

He said as design, development and manufacturing will remain important, the private sector will always find a meaning full role to play in the industry. In this context, he said greater indigenization and identifying co-technology, especially in metallurgy and avionics, is important. There is greater need for production support and at the same time maintaining economies of scale, the Air Chief Marshal said.

In his keynote address, Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Forge Ltd, urged the government to come out with a national aeronautics policy to propel the country’s aerospace industry. He also called for setting up of an autonomous body of all the stakeholders with a mission-like approach to build partnerships, an innovation fund to encourage participation by the small and medium industries and an MCRA acquisition programme to take the Indian aerospace industry to greater levels.

Emphasising the need for greater private-public sector partnership, Kalyani expected to see about eight to 10 Indian companies become global leaders in this sector in about 15 years from now. Frugal engineering and the Indian industry’s ability to use high technology at low cost and integrate software-oriented technology will make this possible, he said.

Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh, in his presidential remarks, said India lagged behind in designing aircraft and urged both the private and public sector to use all production resources to overcome this challenge. He said India has a lot of catching up to do with the advanced countries in terms of technology in the aerospace industry.

In his welcome address, Atul Kirloskar, Chairman, CII National National Committee on Defence and CMD, Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd, called for an early announcement of Raksha Udyog Ratans (RURs) by the government. He said the RURs would help create an environment for private-pubilc sector initiatives to set up global enterprises. He said in the coming years, the aerospace industry, both commercial and defence, would require an investment of $30 billion for upgrading infrastructure and buying aircraft. The focus of the 21st Century will be on aerospace as it is a major forex earner, Mr Kirloskar said, and added that it was imperative for greater private-public sector cooperation.

Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, Director, Centre for Air Power Studies, called for creating new partnerships and strengthening old ties in the manufacturing sector to help India leverage on the opportunites that the global market was throwing up. He said in the new global balance of interest, India was uniquely placed, and had a pivotal role to play. Air Commodore Singh suggested organizing specialized workshops to address the problems faced by the Indian aerospace industry.

Lt Gen S S Mehta, Director General, CII, called for inclusive and sustainable growth, a right mindset of mutual trust and the ability to walk the talk to take the Indian aerospace industry forward. He assured the industry of active support by the CII in pushing for a national aeronautic policy. There is a need for greater synergy between the ministry of defence, the private and the public sector, Mr Mehta said, and added that aerospace is the mother of all Industry and India must find a greater foothold in the global stage.

Later, the CII signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French Aerospace Industries Association, GIFAS. The MoU was signed by Lt Gen S S Mehta on behalf of CII and Mr Guy Rupied, Managing Director of GIFAS. Mr Rupied said though the partnership between India and France in defence was very old, this MoU will add value to the ties and “have the potential to do a lot together to the benefit of both the countries.”

An exhibition on the aerospace industry was inaugurated by Air Chief Marshal F H Major. (ANI)

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