February 04, 2013
Credit: Photo Credit: DASSAULT
Jay Menon New Delhi
The growth in the Indian defense sector is surging, and the U.S. is jostling with traditional arms suppliers Russia, Israel and France for a prominent space in the South Asian nation's military modernization plans.
The mad rush to get a piece of the Indian defense pie is evident from the fact that over 600 companies around the world are participating and vying to sell their products at the ninth Aero India show in Bengaluru Feb. 6-10.
Among them, 67 armament and aviation companies are from the U.S., followed by 49 from France and 33 from the U.K., along with 29 manufacturers from Russia and 18 from Israel.
These aerospace and defense companies are taking all possible steps to update their business strategies and operations to seize opportunities in this highly competitive, lucrative and rapidly expanding market.
“With India's defense budgetary allocation expected to touch $50 billion in the next fiscal year, beginning April 1, 2013, nobody wants to miss the bus,” says a senior Indian defense ministry official.
The major portion of India's expenditure on new procurements will go to air platforms in the near term, with spending expected to exceed $15 billion in the next couple of years.
In the fight for major aircraft deals for the Indian air force, American companies currently have an edge over the Russians. U.S. aircraft makers, having lost out on the multibillion-dollar Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), have been trying to convince Indian authorities to replace Russian equipment, and they have been surprisingly successful.