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Air Chief moots need for Aerospace Commission

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New Delhi, Apr 11 (UNI) Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi today called for the setting up of an Aerospace Commission to deal with the challenges and opportunities in this vital sector.

Observing that the Commission would provide a roadmap for the aerospace industry and not act as a controlling authority, the Air Chief stressed the need for the private sector to involve itself in Research&Development and production as it was essential to keep pace with global technological advances in defence equipment.

Air Chief Tyagi was delivering the inaugural address at an International Conference on ''Energising Indian Aerospace Industry: Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies'', organized jointly by the Indian Air Force, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Centre for Air Power Studies, and the Society for Aerospace Studies here.

Calling upon the private sector to be involved in this sphere in a big way, he also urged even the international companies ''with competence'' to set up Joint Ventures with Indian companies to tap the market available in India in the field of aerospace. ''Any kind of joint venture is welcome provided it leads to productivity....'' The absence of innovation in the Aerospace industry in India was due to lack of competition and over zealousness to import technology -- the latter killing the initiative to improvise and improve the manufacturing sector -- resulting in frequent cost and time over-runs, ACM Tyagi said.

He further called for the implementation of the Kelkar Committee Report and capitalization of the globalization and IT revolution to energise the aerospace industry in the country.

Also speaking on the occasion, Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt pointed out that the aerospace sector required large investments not only in aircrafts but also in the support system ''and this is a huge opportunity for the private sector''.

He said the tremendous scope for development of infrastructure was available in the smaller towns which were going to become the manufacturing hub of India in the coming years.

Observing that international business in the aviation sector was to the tune of 1300 billion US dollars, the Defence Secretary said it was time for the private sector in India to share the pie in this sphere where there were huge opportunities particularly in R&D so that products suitable to Indian conditions were designed and produced.

Mr Dutt announced that after a lot of debate the Government had implemented the offset policy in defence and guidelines for the procurement procedures were being worked out to keep defence equipment world class.

''The aerospace sector offers great opportunities in the manufacturing, services and integration... if we don't avail of this opportunity someone else will step in'', he warned.

UNI DG RL HT1645

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