VADODARA: Two grand visions came to fruition when Prime Minister NarendraModi laid the foundation stone for a plant of the Tata-Airbus consortium in Gujarat’s Vadodara district on October 27. The plant, the first aircraft manufacturing facility in the private sector in the country, symbolised the fusion of the ModiGovernment’s eight year-old old ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector. It also fulfilled industry baron Ratan Tata’s long-cherished wish ofa private manufacturing aircraft facility coming closer to reality.
European aviation major Airbus and India’s Tata Group will jointly manufacture C-295 transport aircrafts with the final assembly line at the plan as part of the Rs 21,935-crore deal.
The C-295 planes which would be manufactured here would give a boost to the Indian Air Force fleet. It is also the first time that these planes would be made outside Europe.
This is the first time that such a huge investment is being done in the defence aerospace sector,” PM Modi underlined, adding that the Vadodara plant would not just help in giving a boost to the Air orce but also develop a new ecosystem for aircraft manufacturing.
“Across the world, India’s aviation sector is growing at the fastest pace. In terms of aviation traffic, we are set to be among the top three nations,” he said. The Prime Minister said his Government had carried out several economic reforms over the past eight years of his tenure. “Today India is working with a new mindset, a new work culture. We have come up with various incentives for investors, which made the change visible,” the PM emphasised.
The C-295 aircraft assembled at the plant would have indigenous equipment, which would also involve the MSMEs (medium and small enterprises).With the latest state-of-the-art technology and superior capabilities and global standards, they would significantly enhance logistic capability of IAF, besides being available for export.
The Airbus-Tata joint venture to manufacture C-295 medium-lift transport aircraft through the strategic partnership route is the first among many steps that India needs to take before Modi’s‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign becomes a serious catalyst for militaryindustrialisation of the country. According to Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer, it is the PM Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India’ that has encouraged Airbus to rethink the manner of conducting business in the country in the form of the C295MW assembly line.
Announcing that his company was aiming to deliver one aircraft every week on an average for the next decade, he underlined that had been possible by the ModiGovernment’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. India opening up its business industry to foreign companies has enhanced the country’s ease-of-doing business, with the country moving from the 142nd rank to the 63rd in five years in the World Bank’s list.
India is moving fast with foreign firms setting up production facilities in the country. South Africa’s Paramount Group has already partnered with the Kalyani Group to expand its India operations and produce the M4 armoured vehicle.
Russia’s Rosoboronexport has also signed a deal at DefExpo 2022 to manufacture its AK-203 assault rifle in Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, Sweden’s Saab Defence will produce its CarlGustaf M4 weapon system in India. The ModiGovernment has taken several steps to develop large scale militaryindustrial complex in the country. It is setting up design, development, testing and certification facilities for capital platforms like armed drones, fighters, tanks, and submarines by involving private players.
Accompanied by industrial units manufacturing critical parts like infra-red seekers, inertial navigation system, and hot engine technologies, this will ensure that India does not have to depend on any third country for its military requirements. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is now encouraging independent facilities where military products designed and developed by the private sector are tested and certified to meet the global requirements. This will allow India to not only ensure self-reliance in defence preparedness but also export to other countries without being bound by any technology- transfer restriction or licences.
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