The five-day long International Aerospace Exhibition and Conferences- ILA 2008 Berlin Air Show witnessed a grand opening at the Berlin-Schonefeld Airport today with the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony representing ‘India as a Partner Country’, for the first time, in the 99-year old history of this event. The German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel declared the Air Show open in the presence of Shri Antony.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Shri Antony, said the Berlin Air Show provides an excellent opportunity to explore innovative cooperation options and arrangements, particularly in the areas of aviation, aerospace and defence. He called upon the international aviation and defence majors to take advantage of the country’s expanding market by proactively seeking out industry partners in India. ‘The commitments made by some partners to establish production facilities in India or transfer of technology, point towards the opportunities that lie in horizon’, he said.
Shri Antony said there is vast potential for cooperation between the defence industry in India and the industries in Germany, Europe and other nations, which would be mutually beneficial. “We need to identify this potential and enhance the levels of cooperation and I hope that our participation in ILA will act as a catalyst in this process.”
Giving a brief overview of India’s successful ‘development model’ (!!), Shri Antony said, India’s presence at the Berlin Air Show “signifies the progress the country has made in the six decades since Independence.” Our steady growth, a buoyant economy and the national strengths which flow from our pluralistic democratic framework have given us a distinct place in today’s world. A strong industrial base, sophisticated research and development institutions, backed by a business environment which is conducive to trade and growth, provides vast opportunities for alliances and cooperation between our domestic industry and international partners,’ he said.
Referring to the defence production and procurement policies, Shri Antony said, these have been designed not only to further develop our capabilities, promote participation by Indian private sector companies but also encourage co-development and co-production with international manufacturers.
Shri Antony took a walk around the exhibition ground with the German Chancellor and also opened the India Pavillion. A large number of Indian companies – both public and private and Defence Organisations have showcased their defence related capabilities and products at the Show. The composite India Pavilion covering 1200 sq meters has witnessed the participation of five Defence Public Sector Undertakings namely Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI); the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and five private defence industries – TATA, L&T, CADES, ACCORD, Saraswati Dynamics. The SARANG team of Indian Air Force enthralled the large number of visitors with a scintillating display of aerobatics with their helicopters. The Air Warriors Symphony Orchestra also performed at Berlin Air Show.