Strengthening Indo-French relations are relevant in the context of the growing influence of China in the region and the need to curb her menacing territorial ambitions
Perhaps the most inspiring event in the recent past in India in the domain of defence and strategic affairs, was the four-day visit to India in March this year by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron. This visit by the French President was eminently successful and aimed at reinforcing bilateral relationship between the two nations, pushing the long-standing strategic partnership to a new level to enable India to play a much larger role in the world and especially in the Indo-Pacific Region. This is particularly relevant in the context of the growing influence of China in the region.
One of the issues, from this visit, over which the Indian Air Force (IAF), had hopes of good news was the possibility of the procurement of additional 36 Rafale jets from Dassault of France. However, as the initial procurement of 36 Rafale jets has got mired in political controversy, the Government chose to postpone announcement on the proposal only after the commencement of delivery of the first lot of these combat platforms.
This issue includes an extensive story on the host of details pertaining to 36 Rafale fighters’ ‘Make in India’ and Offsets’ plan; courtesy Livefist, a blog by an active aerospace and defence journalist Shiv Aroor. This report from Shiv Aroor on the first deal for 36 Rafale jets focuses not only on the transparency of the deal, but also the phenomenal opportunities that are embedded in it for the Indian aerospace industry in the private sector on account of the offset obligation of 50 per cent. On the acquisition of combat and other platforms for the IAF, this issue of the magazine carries a detailed report by Gp Capt J Noronha which highlights the extremely slow process at which induction of new platforms are taking place. The bottom line is the need for adequate funding without which the IAF cannot attain the levels of modernisation that it badly needs.
This issue of SP’s Aviation carries an interview with Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India, wherein he shares his perspective on why India should seriously consider the F/A-18 Super Hornet in its search for a combat aircraft to build up the strength of its combat fleet in the IAF. He explains how this option would not only provide the IAF a highly capable platform, but will also be an impetus to the aerospace industry in India.
In the domain of the Indian civil aviation industry, the major event in the recent past was Wings India 2018 held at Hyderabad. Two new business jets, Dassault’s ultra-long Falcon 8X and the Hondajet made their maiden appearance at the airshow. Rohit Srivastava has covered the airshow in detail in this issue.
During the visit of the French President, forward movement was recorded in the civil aviation industry when the Indian lowcost carrier SpiceJet finalised a $12.50 billion deal with CFM for the purchase of LEAP-1B engines for their fleet of 155 Boeing 737 MAX airliners as well as spare engines to support the fleet. A report on this by Arpita Kala figures in this issue. Arpita also has a report on the growth of business aviation in China and emerging trends in this segment of the Chinese civil aviation industry.
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and do visit us at Booth No. 6.2.10 in Hall 6 at the Defexpo 2018.