India in Berlin Air Show as partner country in Defence sector

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New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony, who leaves for Germany to attend the famous Berlin Air Show, today said foreign companies looking for partnerships in India could enjoy the advantages of a booming Indian market.

Mr Antony would leave New Delhi on Sunday for a three-day visit to Germany. Accompanied by a high-level official delegation, the Defence Minister will attend the International Aerospace Exhibition and Conferences -- ILA 2008, popularly known as Berlin Air Show -- and will hold talks with his German counterpart Dr Franz Josef Jung.

The Berlin Air Show is the oldest air show in the world dating back to 1909. India is participating in this leading air show as a ''Partner Country'' for the first time in the Defence sector.

Germany's Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel will open the Air Show on May 27 and would be accompanied by Mr Antony.

In a message to the organisers of the show, Mr Antony said, "India's participation marks another milestone in our cooperation with leading countries and global firms in the aviation and aerospace sector". He said a strong industrial base, sophisticated Research and Development institutions and a huge domestic market had resulted in a fast growing aviation sector in India. This provided new opportunities for cooperation and strategic alliances between domestic and international partners. ''India is harnessing its indigenously developed civilian space technologies as a key multiplier for development,'' Mr Antony underlined.

Referring to India's Defence sector, Antony said, new policies to transform this sector by actively encouraging all players, whether private or public, Indian or foreign - to play a larger role in defence production through mutually beneficial partnerships, private investment and technology transfers.

''Companies that proactively seek out industrial partners in India will enjoy advantages in our expanding market. In this context, we welcome recent commitments made by some European partners to transfer technology to Indian partners and locate production in India,'' the Defence Minister said.

The Air Show would provide an ideal platform for exploring business opportunities and joint ventures. A large number of Indian companies -- both public and private and Defence Organisations will showcase their capabilities and products at the show. The composite India Pavilion will see the participation of five Defence Public Sector Undertakings: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI); the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Five private defence industries: TATA group of companies, Larsen&Toubro, CADES, ACCORD Software&Systems and Saraswati Dynamics are also participating.

Indicative of the importance being attached to India, a seminar on 'Opportunities in the Indian Defence Sector' will also be held .

The Sarang helicopter team of Indian Air Force will give a scintillating display of aerobatics with their Dhruv helicopters.

The Air Warriors Symphony Orchestra will also perform at Berlin Air Show.

The delegation to accompany the Defence Minister includes Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Secretary Defence Production Pradeep Kumar, DG Acquisition SK Sharma, Advisor to Defence Minister Sundaram Krishna, among others.

Mr Antony will start his official engagements with a visit to the Berlin War Cemetery and pay homage to the 51 soldiers of undivided India who died during the World War II and have been laid to rest there.

UNI NAB KD US1504

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