‘Global meltdown not to impact India’s military modernisation’

February 2nd, 2009 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The global meltdown will not impact on India’s military modernisation that envisages the purchase of hardware worth Rs.1.4 trillion ($30 billion) over the next five years, a top official said Monday.”The global meltdown is a reality but India’s military modernisation will continue as before. There is no question of scaling down our modernisation plans,” Secretary (Defence Production) Pradeep Kumar said.

He was addressing a press conference here ahead of the bi-annual Aero India military air show at Bangalore Feb 11-15.

Given the fact that one-third of the value of all military deals has to be reinvested in the country, the air show has attracted a record 592 exhibitors - 303 from 25 countries and 289 from India - making the seventh edition of the event the biggest yet, Kumar pointed out.

“The offsets (reinvestment) policy provides a tremendous opportunity for foreign manufacturers and events like Aero India provide them the ideal opportunity to establish business-to-business contacts,” he added.

“Aero India will provide an ideal window of opportunity for companies to not only network with the Indian industry but also to benefit from the sharing of expertise in the fields of R&D production and product support with other global players,” Kumar maintained.

Towards this end, 153 meetings have already been fixed via a web portal launched by the defence ministry, which is organising the air show in tandem with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“Many more are in the pipeline and the number could swell considerably by the time the show opens,” Kumar said.

The bulk of the foreign participation - 31 companies each - is from Germany and France, followed by Britain (26), Russia (24), the US (22), Italy (19), Belgium (17), Israel (11) and Australia (10).

A number of foreign aircraft including the F-16, F-18, MiG-35D, Eurofighter, C-17, Embraer 135 business jet, C-130J, Citation XLS, AN-12 Cargo and A-310 MRTT, will be on display.

Indian aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will showcase the indigenous Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter, as also the BaE Systems Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) it is building under license.

With the covered area at the show spread over 44,000 sq metres, another 4,000 sq metres have been set aside for the static displays.

Defence ministers from eight countries - Bolivia, France, the Maldives, Mongolia, Oman, Peru and Surinam will converge on Bangalore for the show. Besides, high-level delegations from 40 countries will witness the show.

China will be represented for the first time through a token 10-member delegation.

“I would not read too much into this,” Kumar replied when asked whether this was a sign of the growing warmth between the two militaries.

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