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BW Businessworld

‘India Can Be A Defence Export Hub’

Sukaran Singh, CEO and MD, Tata Advanced Systems talks to BW Businessworld about his group’s future plans for the country

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Sukaran Singh, CEO and MD, Tata Advanced Systems talks to BW Businessworld about his group’s future plans for the country. Edited excerpts:

On India as a producing base...
The Indian aerospace and defence demand makes it a good place to produce. Given labour rate competitiveness and innate software skills, India can also be a defence export hub in specific areas.

On Make in India...

The Centre has undertaken multiple changes in policy to enable Defence Make in India like easing of licensing, steps towards parity with PSUs, offset reform, where policies have been eased. We are looking forward to the progressive implementation of these policies, as well as a focus on faster order-flows and a reduction in procurement cycles.

On India’s target to boost arms exports 20-fold in a decade to $3 bn...
TASL has actually built most of its capabilities based on exports, especially in aerospace. Defence exports in general must be appropriately facilitated by the government as there is a large potential for the Indian industry. A liberalised end-user licence regime that adheres to multi-lateral norms, and at the same time giving Indian industry the space to expand capacities and capabilities that can reduce the risks and uncertainties of licensing of defence exports, enabling increased private sector participation.

On products that the group is looking to manufacture...
TASL’s key areas include aerospace, UAVs, missiles, radars, command and control and security. We would be working on various levels like the final platform, subsystem and structures, as this is required to address the multiple objectives of the government such as value-addition/employment and control over key technologies. TASL has built strong partnerships in number of areas, and will do so in other areas as well.

TASL is a significant player in the global aerospace market, and it has become the premier manufacturing partner for global OEMs, including Boeing, Airbus Group, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Pilatus Aircraft, Cobham Mission Equipment, RUAG Aviation, as well as the government of India’s DRDO.

On FDI in defence production in India...
We have built joint ventures with global defence OEMs, which includes Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Most of them took bold steps of considering India as a single source production base on the economic and strategic merits, not necessarily linked to Indian orders.

On business targets...
TASL remains focused on providing integrated solutions for aerospace, defence & homeland security. We have capabilities throughout the entire aerospace value chain from design to full aircraft assembly, and we are well positioned in other areas like missiles, radars, unmanned aerial systems, command and control systems, optronics and homeland security.

On the roadblocks...
Firms in the private sector engaged in defence R&D and production can benefit from a reduction in the procurement cycle, clarity on orders as well as liberal export rules. This will allow us to leverage our existing partnerships effectively, as well as expand our capacity and capability to play a greater role in the sector.

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