Defence sector indigenisation to pick up: Parrikar

Defence sector indigenisation would gather momentum by the end of next year.

Sharath Chowdary

Indigenisation in the defence sector is picking pace just as various other government initiatives have been doing, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday. He was speaking to the media after laying the foundation stone of Tata Boeing Aerospace Ltd (TBAL) new facility in Hyderabad. As the government is focused on clearing regulatory issues on priority, indigenisation would gather momentum by the end of next year, he said.

Mentioning the bureaucratic processes that have been causing a delay in getting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the defence sector, Parrikar said, “FDI in the defence sector will take more time. The central government is trying to fast-track the process of defence procurement to drive indigenisation and to attract FDI in this sector. Defence deals don’t happen overnight. Due to bureaucratic procedures, the procurement may get delayed even after taking an order.”

“Army and defence items, unlike television or mobile phones are not procured off the shelf just like any electronic item from a showroom. It will take a lot of time to finalise the procurement deal. Placing an order itself takes a hell lot of time," he said.

Referring to the huge risks involved in defence procurements, he stressed on the need to insure them as business looks for a predictable route.

Speaking with reference to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, he said there will be many significant projects developed in the defence sector this fiscal year. “We are in the process of making one or two Make in India fighter jet projects this year. The government is focussing on skilling of manpower for the aerospace sector and Boeing is a part of this initiative,” he said.

TBAL is a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL), to manufacture Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter fuselages and other integrated systems in aerospace. The Rs.200-crore facility in Hyderabad will be the only manufacturer of AH-64 fuselages in the world.

TASL Chairman S Ramadorai said, “The partnership with Boeing would enhance the manufacturing in the defence sector. This will contribute to the Prime Minister's Make in India initiative. The core strengths of Boeing and TASL would make this joint venture in achieving the next level of excellence in defence manufacturing."

Parrikar appreciated the Telangana government on its new industrial policy. “Introducing a new policy is not a big task, but the implementation of that policy is important. Consultancies prepare these policies who may not know the challenges in implementing them. Telangana government has been successful in both introducing and executing the policy in a swift manner,” he said.

The Defence Minister had earlier visited T-Hub and lauded the state government in its efforts to promote innovation and boost industrial ventures.

The Telangana IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao said, “The aerospace sector is growing in leaps and bounds. With a vibrant ecosystem and large skill power at cheaper cost, Telangana is leading in defence research and missile technology. The state is planning to come up with Aerospace and Defence policy soon. We are also going to set up an aero skill academy in Hyderabad in association with global partners.”

Manohar Parrikar, KT Rama Rao and others laying foundation of TBAL facility in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Manohar Parrikar, KT Rama Rao and others laying foundation of TBAL facility in Hyderabad on Saturday.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jun 20, 2016 12:00 IST