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Armament majors jostle to grab chunks of lucrative Indian arms market

Discussion in 'Modern Warfare' started by CONNAN, Jan 29, 2011.

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    NEW DELHI: With India's appetite for importing military hardware and software remaining unsatiated, global armament giants are once again making a beeline for the country to hawk their fighters, helicopters, submarines, missiles, howitzers and the like.

    As many as 380 foreign companies are all set to display their wares during Aero-India 2011 at Bangalore, which kicks off on February 9. "It represents a 25% jump in foreign participation from the last Aero-India in 2009. Moreover, there will be 29 exhibiting countries, 70 visiting countries and eight countries with their own pavilions,'' said a defence ministry official.

    There will also be 295 domestic companies, as opposed to 289 in 2009, during the five-day airshow. But, despite India being the 10th largest defence spender in the world, the country is still nowhere near having a robust defence-industrial base.

    Consequently, it still imports almost 70% of its military requirements, making it the world's largest arms importer next only to China. If defence deals worth over $50 billion were inked in the decade since the 1999 Kargil conflict, the majority of them with foreign suppliers, it will spend more than double that amount in the current decade.

    As per MoD figures, India spent Rs 71,336 crore on capital acquisitions from 1998-1999 to 2003-2004. This more than doubled in the 2004-2005 to 2009-2010 timeframe to register Rs 1,75,937 crore. "We hope to top the Rs 60,000 crore capital outlay in the current fiscal (2010-2011),'' said a senior official.

    Is it any wonder then that armament majors continue to be all agog about the immensely lucrative Indian arms bazaar. From Boeing, Airbus Military, BAE Systems and EADS to Israeli Aerospace Industries, Dassault Aviation and Sukhoi Design Bureau, all will be there at the Aero-India show.

    There are rich pickings to be made. Boeing, for instance, is salivating at the biggest Indo-US defence deal, the $4.1-billion one for 10 C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft, which is on the verge of being inked. India, as reported earlier, may well order another six C-17s after the first 10. "We will have a C-17 on display in Aero-India,'' said a Boeing official.

    There will be at least 22 military and 27 civil aircraft on display at the airshow. It, of course, comes at a time when the winner among the six foreign contenders for the gigantic $10.4 billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft for IAF will soon be selected.

    The armed forces are also looking to induct over 600 helicopters, ranging from VVIP and heavy-lift to attack and light utility ones, a major chunk of them from aboard, in the coming years for well over Rs 20,000 crore. While some deals have already been signed, others are in the pipeline.

    A second major induction of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), ranging from micro and mini spy drones to attack and combat ones, as well as surveillance planes is also on the cards. The forces already have over 100 UAVs, mainly acquired from Israel, for surveillance and precision-targeting missions.

    Armament majors jostle to grab chunks of lucrative Indian arms market - The Times of India
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