New Delhi, Feb.15 : India plans to make its defence offset policy open, transparent and less rigid and ensure bigger participation of private players in defence equipment business, said Pradeep Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, at the Fourth India-UK Defence Industry Symposium here.
The symposium was organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Defence Manufacturers Association of UK.
Kumar said that the symposium will provide the UK a platform to understand India's foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in the defence sector.
"India has gradually liberalized its defence trade by allowing 100% private investment by domestic companies and increasing the number of licences granted to private players. Our defence equipment companies are competitive and global biggies are outsourcing their work to Indian firms," he said.
He called on industry to promote small and medium enterprises as they act as a vital link with large organizations. Kumar expressed confidence that this symposium will provide us an opportunity to understand the eastern and the western perspectives on defence, explore joint ventures and further strengthen India-UK ties.
Creon Butler, Deputy British High Commissioner, said: "India should raise the FDI limit in defence sector to 49 percent from 26 percent. The British Prime Minister's recent visit will take our relationship to a new level. The Tata-Corus and Hutch-Vodafone deals demonstrate our close engagement. Of late, more UK companies are investing in India. Mr Butler said UK provides best climate to Indian companies for foreign direct investment.
He said:"India plans to meet 70 percent of its defence equipment needs domestically. Thus there are tremendous possibilities for partnerships with the Indian Industry. British companies are working closely with DRDO and other R and D organizations of India.
Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Mackay, Senior Military Adviser, Defence Export Services Organisation, Ministery of Defence, UK, said: "India and the UK share passion for engineering. We need new alliances to compete in the new world order. We can take advantage of each other's technological skills. We are willing to enter joint licenced production arrangements with Indian companies."
"Apart from our focus on aero-space technological tieups, we would like to have collaboration with the Indian companies in other areas of defence trade," he added.
In his welcome remarks, Atul Kirloskar, Chairman, CII National Committee on Defence and Chairman and MD, Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd, said: "The participation of the British companies in the symposium is quite encouraging. There is an excellent climate for collaboration in the field of defence between India and the UK. Defence has been a key pillar of the Indo-UK ties."
Rear Admiral Rees Ward CB, Director General, Defence Manufacturers Association of UK, said: "India and the UK should encourage defence trade for mutual benefit. Indian market is very competitive and poised to emerge as an important force in the global defence market. India has a viable manufacturing hub which can meet the needs of the global market."
Making concluding remarks, Lt. Gen. S S Mehta (Retired), Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, said: "I expect lots of things moving from India to the UK."
Citing India's credentials, Lt. Gen. (retired) Mehta urged the UK to share dual-use technology.
"Defence is needed to maintain peace and prosperity. India needs injection of technology to attain inclusive and sustainable growth," he said.