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Webinar : IFCCI Indo-French Defence & Aerospace Seminar 2020

IFCCI in partnership with GIFAS and SIDM organised its flagship and highly exclusive Defence & Aerospace Seminar virtually this year.

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The Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI) in partnership with GIFAS (French Aerospace Industries Association created in 1908) and SIDM (Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers) organised its flagship and highly exclusive event, the 5th consecutive edition of the Indo-French Defence & Aerospace Seminar 2020 held virtually on Thursday, 26th November 2020.

This event was also organised and curated with the help and guidance of IFCCI’s Defence & Aerospace Committee leadership led by IFCCI’s Vice-President who is also the Chairperson of this Committee - Mr. Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, VP and Country Director for Thales India, and the Vice-Chairpersons, Mr. Ashish Saraf, Head of Region – India and South Asia for Airbus Helicopters, Mr. Pierre Dickeli CEO, Safran India and Mr. Marc de Laet, GM India Testmeasures Spherea.

The virtual session began with the welcome remarks from Ms. Payal S Kanwar, Director General, IFCCI. She also thanked the event sponsors: Platinum Sponsor – Airbus; Gold Sponsor – GMR Airports; Silver Sponsors – Expleo, Criticalog and Safran. Following which, Mr. Sumeet Anand, President, IFCCI presented his opening remarks and thanked the partnering institutions: GIFAS - the French Aerospace Industries Association, SIDM - the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, Business France – the French Trade Commission and of course the Embassy of France in India of their constant support towards the chamber. Dr. Udayant Malhoutra, Member SIDM presented the special address.

H.E Mr Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India joined us through a video message.

Mr. Xavier Le Goff, Deputy Defence Attaché in India | Armament Attaché in India, Embassy of France in India: “2020 was significant for both countries with the arrival of the first batch of rafale fighter jets in the midst of the pandemic.” He also enforced their efforts and readiness to contribute to India’s priority in modernisation of its forces.

Speakers:

  • Mr. Alain Biard, Head of Industrial Cooperation & Offset, MBDA
  • Ms. Anne Charlotte Fredenucci, Chairman, Ametra Group 
  • Mr. Antoine Crombez, Deputy CEO, GMR Airports Limited
  • Mr. Apparao Mallavarapu (Rao), Chairman and Managing Director, Centum Group
  • Mr. Ashish Rajvanshi, President and Head, Adani Defence & Aerospace 
  • Mr. Ashish Saraf, Head of Region – India and South Asia, Airbus Helicopter
  • Mr. Eric Fajole, India Director, Business France  
  • Dr S Christopher, Headed the DRDO as Secretary for Defence, currently at IIT Madras
  • Mr. Emmanuel de Roqufeuil, VP & Country Director, Thales India
  • Mr. Hemanth DP, CEO, Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy [Former EVP and CCO, GMR Airports Group]
  • Mr. Jean-Noel Rault, General Manager - Indian Subcontinent, Air France-KLM
  • Mr. Kunal Bajaj, Head – Defence & Aerospace, Motherson Group 
  • Mr. Venkataramana Mantha, CEO, Expleo Technologies India 
  • Mr. Pierre Dickeli, CEO, Safran India 
  • Mr. Rajinder Singh Bhatia, President & CEO, Bharat Forge
  • Mr. Stephane Watier, Indian Units Global Manager, Axon Cable 
  • Mr. Udayant Malhoutra, CEO, Dynamatics Technologies 
  • Mr. Vincent Gorry, Senior VP, European and International Affairs, GIFAS

The speakers staying positive on the recovery of the domestic travel aspects in India, shared a common thought on the resilience of the country and quicker rebound of markets in the domestic aviation segment while the international market would take longer. To restore confidence in air-travelling, Aviation industry has given importance in the implementation of sanitary measures to maintain the health safety of passengers. Most of them working with their partners on finding creative ways to keep the businesses running and afloat.

About 8000-9000 MSMEs based in Bangalore and Hyderabad are facing cash crunches and severe cash flows issues since the last 9 months. Significant steps have been taken by the govt to help with their recovery in terms of allocating part of the capital for MSMEs and by providing incentives. However, in these unprecedented times, the cargo segment has helped to a great extent with the recovery of losses incurred and has been 2-3 times higher than the passenger segment.

The Government has implemented new GST laws to help MRO activity to be competitive in turn. He acknowledged the support provided by the central and state government in offering incentives and encouraging partnerships with MSMEs. The discussion also emphasised on the need for a robust technology and ecosystem; for viable options like innovations in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles; enabling remote operations of airlines with the progress in AI; to make India a complete ecosystem like Design, Development, Production and MRO support; special processes and deep industrialisation; additive manufacturing and 3D printing; etc…

We had the pleasure of having a case study presented by Mr. Alain Biard, of how they were forced to introduce prompt innovation and agility to manage the crisis. They in fact managed, by using tablets and cameras, to enable Indian operators to completely integrate a Rafale Missile launcher under the watchful eye and with the live assistance of the Firing Systems and Launchers Production and Installation teams from the factory based in Paris.

The event had a few representatives from Indian companies that have invested in France and French companies in India shared their experiences in both the countries. No doubt that between India and France, there is strategic partnership. Both countries have demonstrated by concrete actions that this bilateral relationship be it political or on trade or investment, is extremely rich. This cooperation has provided a framework for strengthening the R&D and the procurement between the 2 countries. It is also important to mention that incredible efforts have been put by France to recover and rebound the aeronautical sector during this pandemic.

All in all, we can safely say that India as a market, presents many opportunities for both French and Indian companies of all sizes to collaborate and prosper on different levels.

With these points, the session came to an end with the vote of thanks presented by Mr. Yohann Samuel, Regional Director – Southern chapter, IFCCI and the facilitator of the IFCCI Defence & Aerospace Committee.

The event saw an active participation of 650+ companies from both the Indian and French business Community.

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