Vadodara/ New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called on global defence majors to manufacture military hardware and platforms in India for the world as he laid the foundation stone here in Vadodara for the production of European C-295 military transport aircraft. In his address, PM Modi said India is moving forward with the mantra of 'Make in India and Make for the Globe' and that his government's "stable, predictable and futuristic" policies are taking the country to a higher trajectory of economic growth.
The Tata Group will manufacture 40 C-295 medium transport aircraft at the Vadodara facility in cooperation with global aerospace major Airbus under the provisions of a Rs 21,935 crore deal that the two firms inked in September last year to supply the planes to the Indian Air Force.
The contract with the government is for supplying 56 aircraft and Airbus will deliver the first 16 planes in 'fly-away' condition from its final assembly line in Spain between September 2023 and August 2025.
"Today we have taken a big step in the direction of making India the manufacturing hub of transport aircraft," Modi said in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel and several top executives of leading defence majors.
"We aim to scale our defenCe manufacturing beyond $25 billion by 2025. Our defense exports will also exceed $5 billion"- PM Modi
It is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company.
"India is presenting opportunities of low-cost manufacturing and high output…. Today, India is working with a new mindset, a new work culture," he said, urging defence majors to take advantage of a favourable environment for manufacturing in the country.
Modi remarked that now India is becoming a huge manufacturer of transport aircraft in the world, he can foresee that it will soon be producing big passenger planes that will proudly bear the words 'Made in India'.
Highlighting the increasing demand for passenger and cargo aircraft in the country, Modi said there will be a requirement for more than 2,000 planes in the next 15 years and a crucial step in this direction was made today.
He said that the promise of 'Make in India, Make for the Globe' will gain a new push from Vadodara as the facility will be able to take orders for export to other countries in the future.
PM Modi noted that transporting aircraft manufactured in Vadodara will not only give strength to the armed forces but it will help in developing a new ecosystem of aircraft manufacturing.
"Vadodara which is famous as a cultural and education centre, will develop a new identity as an aviation sector hub."
Showcasing India as an attractive destination for investment, he said it is presenting a global opportunity for the world that is beset by the Covid-19 pandemic, war and disruptions in the supply chain. He pointed out that the growth momentum of India has been constant notwithstanding such circumstances.
PM Modi explained that operating conditions are constantly improving and India is focussing on cost competitiveness as well as quality.
"A new saga of economic reforms is being written in India today and the manufacturing sector is reaping the most benefits from this apart from the states," Modi said.
The prime minister said there was a time when the dominant thought was to focus on the service sector as manufacturing was considered to be beyond reach.
"Today we are improving both services and manufacturing sectors," he said.
He underlined the importance of a holistic approach that focuses on both the manufacturing and service sector.
"Growth momentum of India has been maintained despite pandemic, war and supply-chain disruptions"- PM Modi
"Today India is preparing to stay ahead of everyone in manufacturing," he added.
Modi also criticised what he called a "makeshift approach" of the previous government where he said the manufacturing sector was kept barely functional through subsidy, adding there was neglect of basic facilities like logistics, electricity supply or water supply.
"We have abandoned the makeshift approach of decision-making and have come up with various new incentives for investors," he said.
"In the last eight years", Modi said, "companies from more than 160 countries have invested in India." He further elaborated that such foreign investments are not limited to certain industries but spread across 61 sectors of the economy and cover 31 states of India.
"We aim to scale our defence manufacturing beyond USD 25 billion by 2025. Our defence exports will also exceed USD 5 billion," he added.
In his remarks, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described the occasion as a milestone in India's quest for becoming self-reliant in defence.
"It is a historic moment not only for the Tata Group but for the country, as it embraces the Prime Minister's vision of making India a truly 'Atmanirbhar' (self-reliant) country," N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, said.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said his company is honoured to play a role in this "historic moment for aerospace in India."
"The C295 programme, in partnership with the trusted Tata Group, is strongly aligned with the Government of India's vision of an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India)," he said.
The first Made-in-India aircraft is being rolled out of the manufacturing facility in September 2026 and the remaining 39 will have to be produced by August 2031.
The IAF will become the 35th C295 operator worldwide. To date, the programme counts 285 orders, with more than 200 aircraft delivered, 38 operators from 34 countries as well as 17 orders repeated. In 2021, the C295 achieved more than half-a-million flight hours.
The defence ministry said manufacturing of over 13,400 detail parts, 4,600 sub-assemblies and all the seven major component assemblies of the aircraft will be undertaken in India.
It said various systems such as engines, landing gear and avionics will be provided by Airbus Defence and Space and integrated into the aircraft by the TATA Consortium.
With a proven capability of operating from short or unprepared airstrips, the C295 is used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and for logistic operations to locations that are not accessible to current heavier aircraft.
The aircraft can airdrop paratroops and loads, and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation.
The aircraft is capable of performing special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.
The project is expected to generate 600 highly skilled jobs directly, over 3,000 indirect jobs and an additional 3,000 medium-skill employment opportunities with more than 42.5 lakh man-hours of work within the aerospace and defence sector.
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