Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Sep 12, 2002
Industry & Economy
Fernandes calls for joint effort on ALH production
The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, flanked by Mr R. Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland Ltd, and Mr Atul Kirloskar, Chairman, CII National Committee on Defence, at a seminar in the Capital on Wednesday.
NEW DELHI, Sept. 11
THE Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, today asked the Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) consortium of participating companies to look at synergistic partnerships with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and his Ministry for setting up assembly lines that would help in mass production of Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) in the country.
Addressing a national seminar on `Defence-industry partnership: Taking stock', organised by the CII here, Mr Fernandes highlighted that mass production of ALH could be an area where synergy with private sector can make immense sense.
"We have facilities with HAL. But we need an assembly line for mass production. We are already receiving enquiries as to when ALH will reach the international markets," he said.
The Defence Minister also said that all the three services and Coast Guard had inducted the ALH into their fold. On light combat aircraft (LCA), Mr Fernandes announced that the Defence Ministry expected "two or may be even three LCAs" to fly at the air show next year.
The Government and the Ministry of Defence have set a target to purchase 70 per cent of the total defence requirements from the Indian industry, both public and private sectors, by 2005.
The defence spending on equipment purchase is estimated to be in the region of about Rs 20,000 crore annually.
As a means to build confidence and facilitate the interaction between private sector and the Defence Ministry, CII has offered to constitute a consortium of participating companies for the defence sector.
In his address, Mr Ajit Nimbalkar, Secretary, Defence Production and Supplies, said that the Ministry hoped that the ordinance factories and public sector units in the defence sector would respond well to the challenges thrown up by competition from the private sector.
"The worry of PSUs and ordinance factories over privatisation is misplaced... We are not talking of closing down units or reduction of manpower. But at the same time, they should not be complacent," he said.
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