Hyderabad: Minister for Information Technology, and Industry K T Rama Rao has called upon the union government to rise above petty political considerations while choosing states for setting up defence and aerospace units in the country. He wanted the government to consider the existing ecosystem rather than elections as a deciding factor for setting up strategic defence production units, in private or government sectors.
He was addressing the third edition of Defence Conclave titled “Advantage Telangana: Examining Transformations and Exploring Opportunities” organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Wednesday.
“I had met four defence ministers in the last five years and requested them to support Hyderabad and Telangana in our growth story as we a have a good eco-system for the growth of defence and aerospace industry, industry ready workforce and its strategic location,” he said. He sought the Centre’s nod for starting a Defence Production Corridor between Hyderabad and Bangalore.
“Unfortunately it occurs to me even in the matters of strategic sectors like Aerospace and defence sometimes the regional compulsions are outweighing national strategies,” Rama Rao said. He remembered that one defence minister told him that it has been decided to set up one such corridor in Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh and one in Chennai.
“I asked on what grounds the decision was taken, as they overlooked Hyderabad and Bangalore. I would be equally happy if an industry sets shop anywhere in Telangana, or anywhere in India. But it appears to me that GOI doesn’t think that way,” he said.
The Minister for Industries recalled that one of the investors told him that they were asked by the Government to consider Nagpur, Gujarat or Rajasthan. He added that it is a travesty that investments coming to India in important sectors like defence have to be based on political and geopolitical considerations. “Government of India should have a relook into the strategy as it is spending millions of dollars, on defence acquisitions,” he said.
Government of India should focus on indigenous production as we import significant portion from other countries which is a shame where we are able to do rapid strides in defence and aerospace, there is no reason why Indian entrepreneurs couldn’t do more provided they are given a helping hand by the GOI. Secondly, he said that we have to rise above our petty political and geopolitical equations. “It can’t be just winning elections in UP with lot of Parliament seats, or some other state,” he pointed out.
He expressed hope that sense and wisdom will prevail the centre starts taking sectors like defence seriously and start working on strategies that make sense for India as a country and not political parties and leadership.
Well established Ecosystem
K T Rama Rao said that Defence and Aerospace industry was one of the most important sectors from Telangana’s perspective as the state has an entrenched and well established defence eco systems. Telangana has 1000 plus SMEs in the Defence and Aerospace sector which have been adding growth in this specific sector, he said. “We have four dedicated Aerospace parks here, and 50 general engineering parks in which large number of precision engineering companies work,” he said.
In a short span of over a decade aerospace majors including Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation, Boeing, Rafael, etc. established their manufacturing facilities in our Aerospace parks. “I have been pointing out that the helicopter cabin used by the US President Donald Trump has been manufactured here by Sikorsky,” We also have majors like Rolls Royce and Airbus starting their manufacturing facilities and assembly units here and started exporting out of our Hyderabad units.
What makes Telangana unique is that we have good ecosystem ands also a large pool of skilled and industry ready work force that made us a front runner in the industry. We had tie ups with renowned institutions to offer need based defence certification courses at affordable cost.
We are also contemplating in setting up a Aerospace university in partnership with private entities, ” the minister said.
Seeking centre’s help to set up a Defence Incubator at T hub, he said that Telangana government has made several efforts in the past to partner T hub with Boeing, Pratt and Whitney and Ministry of defence to promote and accelerate innovation and start up in aerospace industry. “We also requested the government of India to help us in setting up a Defence Incubator. I hope it will be a reality some day,” KTR said.