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India’s $620 billion defence market attracts Lockheed, Airbus, and Saab

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India’s defence market is growing rapidly despite the country being a major arms importer. The sudden focus of the Indian government towards its defence sector has alerted major arms manufacturers, especially the European defence firms.

Airbus

Defexpo 2018, the Indian defence expo, held at Chennai, reflects the focus mentioned above. Airbus is the only bidder that has shown interest for Indian Air Force’s Avro Replacement Programme.

If the deal is finalized, Airbus will produce 56 units of C295W military transport aircraft with assistance from Tata Advance Systems Ltd. President and MD of Airbus India, Pierre de Bausset explained, “As soon as the Avro replacement programme turns into a contract, it will be assembled over here, manufactured here in India.”

Airbus, one of the largest European aeronautics company, is also eyeing the South Asian continent for new projects. In fact, it is developing a strong supply chain running through the Asian nations. Owing to the increasing tension in the Korean peninsula and the South China Sea, defence purchases are increasing steadily.

Local manufacturing is being pushed with the help of regional partners. It’s quite visible with a jet fighter deal that may be concluded soon. For the deal, Lockheed has partnered with Tata Group, and Saab has joined hands with Adani Group, fronted by Chairman Gautam Adani and Managing Director Rajesh Adani. At least 85 percent of the planes are going to be manufactured in India, which is in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The man behind the curtains is PM Narendra Modi. His ‘Make in India’ initiative is promoting local production of goods and services. The aim is to make the country self-reliant rather than depend on costly imports, which may not fall in line with the quality needed by the defence forces. Recently, the home ministry gave clearance to 48 private defence projects. These will enable small and medium-scale arms production.

In other news, The Indian Air Force has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to invite tenders for 110 fighter aircraft. Around 75 percent of the aircraft will be single-seat variants and the other 25 will be double-seat fighters.

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