The 'Make in India' initiative provides "a valuable opportunity" to French and Indian entrepreneurs to enter the defence equipment manufacturing field in India, junior Defence Minister Subhash Bhamre said today.
Speaking at a day-long conference on 'Indo-French Defence and Aerospace Cooperation' in New Delhi, the Union minister of state for defence said the medium, small and micro enterprises in India are capable of contributing to the global supply chain.
"The Make in India initiative offers a valuable opportunity to the French and Indian enterprises to enter into production of defence equipment in India."
In India's "quest" for self-reliance in defence and aerospace, the challenge is to bridge the technological gaps, he said.
Counting the factors favouring India including "colossal" requirement, strength of small and medium sector enterprises and a young, skilled manpower, Bhamre said "the opportunities are phenomenal for any country willing to partner with India."
To optimise the opportunities, all stakeholders should commence engagement in the process of design and development. The experience of French industry will help India in developing an ecosystem and prepare a supply chain covering a wide range of technologies, he said.
The two sides represented by the French aerospace industries association GIFAS and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) signed an MoU for further cooperation.
The two bodies will help one another in tapping opportunities existing in the two countries, in defence and aerospace sector, said Lt General Subrata Saha, director general of SIDM.
"We are going to find the GIFAS right partners and inform them of the opportunities that exist here. In turn, the GIFAS will inform us about opportunities are available for Indian industries to plug into their supply chains.
"SIDM will also be helped by GIFAS in guiding the local MSMEs get validated and measure up to the standards of the global supply chain."
A GIFAS industrial delegation led by its chairman Eric Trappier is on a visit to India to interact with local players to further defence and aerospace cooperation.
The 80-member delegation includes major aviation and aerospace players like Airbus, ArianeGroup, Dassault Aviation, MBDA, Safran and Thales. The delegation will participate in a series of events in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, till April 19.