New Delhi : European defence major Airbus Group cautioned that 49% FDI limit in defence sector cannot fetch India the industry or the right original equipment manufacturer that it is eying under ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The firm, which is in negotiations with India for several defence projects worth billions of dollars, also made it clear that they would be able to invest in the domestic defence sector only if they get contracts as it takes “two to tango”. The group also admitted that the nearly USD 1.4 billion project of the Indian government to acquire six Airbus mid-air refuellers has “stagnated” even as it offered to transfer the final assembly line of Panther helicopters if it gets an order from the Navy for the same.
“..forget about 49 per cent. It is not going to get an industry and it is not going to get OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) of quality. You may get a few but not the right ones,” Pierre de Bausset, President and Managing Director of Airbus Group India, said. Pitching for “fair business”, he said that in the beginning, their Indian partners will need them a lot before they become the real champions that India has in mind. “Fair business means that we need to have levels of controls that are appropriate for the risks that we are taking. “You have to think in terms of how do you attract us, how do you attract talent, how do you make it a good win-win partnership and not a very straight-jacket in the beginning,” he said. He said if the contracts come in, they can make investment as high as Rs 5,000 crore in India.