Aero India attracts global aviation majors

Thursday, 30 January 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: Global aviation majors will display their wares along with Indian hi-tech products at one of Asia's biggest aerospace exhibitions to be held here next month.

India will showcase its expertise in hi-tech aerospace areas like simulation, fly-by-wire technologies and mathematical modelling at the five-day Aero India scheduled to open February 5. Some 250 companies are expected to participate in the show.

"But it is not a business opportunity only for the host country. A large number of companies from 22 countries are here for some good business. And it is not just to sell to India alone," Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar, director of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), told IANS.

Over a dozen companies from the U.S. will participate in the exhibition, reflecting the growing defence ties between New Delhi and Washington. Among the global aviation majors who will have a large presence at the show are Rolls Royce, General Electric, Raytheon, Bell and Pratt and Whitney.

Aero India, which started in 1996, has quickly become a major event in the Asian aerospace circuit despite limited foreign participation in the show following the imposition of sanctions against New Delhi in the wake of the 1998 nuclear tests.

"The exhibition itself has grown by 26 percent this time compared to Aero India 2001," said Commander A.J.B. Singh at the huge Yelahanka air base, the venue for the show.

India's defence establishments like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics limited (HAL) will showcase indigenously developed hardware at the exhibition, including parachutes for various purposes and the civil variant of the advanced light helicopter (ALH).

Israel has expressed an interest in marketing the ALH, the military version of which entered service with India's armed forces last year.

Several global players will use Aero India to provide flying displays of their jet trainers in anticipation of orders from the Indian Air Force. Among these are the British Hawk, Russia's MiG-AT and the L-159 from the Czech republic.

But selling their wares to India would not be the focus of foreign companies. India's opening of its defence sector to foreign direct investments of up to 26 percent is expected to be another area of interest to global players.

"(Aero India) provides a global platform for networking and mutually beneficial business relationships in what is a growth area in India," Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes has said in a message ahead of the show.

An international seminar on "aerospace technologies - developments and strategies" will be held here to coincide with the show. The seminar will include a special session on developments in the 100 years following the first powered flight made by the Wright brothers in the U.S. in 1903.

Experts form the U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain and India will participate in this discussion.
Source: IANS
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