India And France Are Together Shaping The Future Of Aerospace

We may remember that less than one year ago, in March 2018, at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron came on a State Visit to India.

2018 has been a tremendous year for the development of the Indo-French relationship in aerospace. The two partners, the two aerospace nations, the two great democracies and the two friend countries have demonstrated and proven to each other by concrete actions how strategic is the development of their bilateral cooperation. 

We may remember that less than one year ago, in March 2018, at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron came on a State Visit to India. The two leaders held constructive discussions to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the strategic partnership between India and France, the first ever to be established by India. They also looked at the future, committed to furthering this strategic partnership and decided to take it to a new level,with an enhanced cooperation in the field of defense, aeronautics, space, security and nuclear energy, all of these being very sensitive domains. 

A few weeks later, in April 2018, the French Aerospace Industries Association, named GIFAS, came to India with a delegation of 80 senior executives from 60 companies. The purpose of this 4 days visit, in 4 different States, was to transcribe the ambition of our two leaders for a higher level of relationship between our two countries in the aeronautics, space and defense domains. This delegation, who met civil and defense stakeholders, both public and private, was exceptional in the sense that, beyond the OEMs, it was constituted of a large number of midcap companies and MSMEs. They, together, represented 85% of the turnover produced by the French aerospace industry and covered a very broad range of technologies. The seminars and one to one meetings which were held in Delhi and Bangalore with its Indian partner, SIDM, have shown the broad extent of possible cooperation and the willingness of the French and Indian industries to shape a common future. SIDM and GIFAS have signed an agreement on this occasion to support the development of industrial relationship between their members. 

Where are we now? The French aerospace industry has clearly strong ambitions with India and has already started to implement a comprehensive roadmap with regards to the kind of relationship it wants to build with its Indian partners. It is fully aware of the strong objectives of the "Make in India" policy; France based OEMs have already an established industrial presence in India, whether it is directly, alone or in partnership, or through their suppliers. In order to go further and achieve the level of indigenisation expected by the Indian government, it is necessary to develop partnership at all levels of the supply-chain between our two countries; that is to say between tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers. This is currently being done. 

In less than one year time, French and Indian aerospace industry have made important steps in this direction. These last months, fifteen French industrial companies have strengthened their presence in India and either opened a new facility or representation offices. To support further the development of industrial relationship, GIFAS is now present in New-Delhi with a permanent office and staff. The French industry is committed to fly high alongside its Indian counterpart! 

Now, how to go further? Flexible regulations are, off course, a pre-requisite for mid-cap companies and MSMEs to form partnership. In that regard we welcome the effort of the government to improve the ease of doing business in the defense sector. But these partnership will not materialize if they are not based on sound business plans which require a certain visibility from both parties on the future sales. The French and Indian OEMs will be able to provide this visibility insofar as they receive it from their own customers: whether they are airlines, satellite operators or governmental institutions such as ministries of defense or space agencies. 

We have learned from our own experience that a good balance between commercial and defense activities is essential to the sustainable development of the aerospace industry. Both have lots of technologies in common. They also share the same principles of design and the same high level of quality. When one of these two domains falters, the other one can pick up. That is why we want to develop our industrial relationship in India in both the commercial and defense domains. 

As our credentials prove it, we are serious with our intention to contribute to the emergence of a comprehensive eco-system in aerospace in India. And we have begun to do it. For this reason, we will gladly participate with the Indian professional organizations to any work which would allow the Indian government to recognize more, in its policies and regulations,the importance of this duality. 

In the very short term, the Aero India airshow is taking place again this month, in Bangalore. France will be the largest non-Indian participation with more than 40 groups and societies exhibiting. Announcements of Indian-French partnerships will be made. This French presence and involvement have to be considered as a further stepping stone on the way to a deeper industrial relation between our two nations. This shows that we are committed and that we say what we will do, and do what we have said. We deliver! 

It is an exceptional opportunity for our industries to meet and explore common fields of mutually beneficial cooperation. The quality of our products, whether they are commercial aircraft, fighter aircraft, helicopters, launchers, missiles or satellites, is well known. We are partners of choice for the Indian aerospace industry. 

We can create the future, together. Let’s build it on this long term trust and friendship between our two strong and influential aerospace countries. Let’s shape a stronger industrial and business link, allowing our two nations to deliver stronger and larger wings to our respective countries. 

Together, let’s shape the future of aerospace. 

Source: The Economic Times

Image Source: ASD


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