Over the next decade, India has a planned defence budget of USD 150 billion and is on track to becoming one of the top five defence buyers in the world. At present, the country imports 70 percent of its defence products and 30 percent is taken care by the DPSUs (Defence Public Sector Undertakings) and private companies.

In order to brighten the light shone over the growing Indian defence market by global aerospace and defence manufacturers, AIDAT (Aerospace Industry Development Association of Tamil Nadu), organised their 2nd Annual Conference on Aerospace and Defence, in Chennai. The event saw the best minds behind the aerospace and defence sectors share their knowledge, to the benefit of industry players.

Experts and heads of various automotive giants, who were interested in entering the A&D space were also present at the event, networking and connecting with their counterparts.

Aerospace Industry Development Association of TamilNadu

Established in early 2016, AIDAT’s vision was to promote and develop the A&D industry ecosystem in Tamil Nadu. The association was led by a group of industry veterans, with many years of experience in the industry, both in India and abroad.

AIDAT also helps giving a hand to the automotive design and manufacturing sector in Tamil Nadu, which is in the pinnacle of growth with many OEMs setting up units in the state, who wish to enter the growing A&D industry.

AIDAT also works with the state government to make changes to policies that facilitate the growth of the A&D sector.

Annual Conference on Aerospace & Defence

Commodore S Shekhar, Vice President, AIDAT, kick started the conference with his welcome and theme setting address. “The strives made by India in the Aerospace domain, have indeed been spectacular. One percent of the global aerospace domain, consisting of many verticals, or 8 billion dollars of the space, comes from India”, he said.

“With a growth rate of 20 percent every year, India is one of the fastest growing aviation market in the world. The object of this conference is make Tamil Nadu a destination for global aerospace and defence companies. We want to obtain an overview in the defence domain, understand the dynamics of the defence business and see how Tamil Nadu can become one of the hubs”, he added.

Under the stewardship of Mr N Shekar, President, AIDAT, the association has shown growth, both qualitatively and quantitatively. In his special address he said, “With our focus purely on Tamil Nadu and on Aerospace and Defence sectors, we can help our members to grow, as we help them with absolute focus. We work with the government, both in the state and central level to help them with various policies.” He also enlightened the audience about the various events, seminars and conferences held by AIDAT in the past years.

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Mr Oleg Avdeev, lighting the inaugural lamp, along with the dignitaries on the dias.

With Tidel Park Ltd being the major sponsor for the event, Mr B Elangovan, Managing Director, Tidel Park Ltd, gave a special address during the inauguration, where he spoke about the reasons why investors should look at Tamil Nadu. “Being one of the most developed state in the country, having the second largest economy growing in about 8 – 9 percent in the past decade, Tamil Nadu stands out to be one of the best in terms of infrastructure, education, quality of skill and skill development”, he said.

AIDAT also focuses on supporting MSMEs (Mirco, Small & Medium Enterprises) in the field of aerospace and defence. Mr D P Yadav, Secretary – MSME Department, Govt of Tamil Nadu, delivered his special address. He said, “There should be opportunities, collaboration in order to avoid huge skill gaps. The defence sector must open-up and collaborate with the manufacturers, in order to achieve the optimum products.”

The Chief Guest of the conference, Mr N Muruganandam, IAS, Principal Secretary to Government, Industries Department, Government of TN said, “When it comes to A&D, India is still a beginner. However, this sector has a high potential of growth, as India has seen a growth of 12 percent in the last five years.”

“This growth has been fueled by four factors, such as – India is one of the biggest exporters of defence equipment, a lot of OEMs supply various defence systems, the government has been promoting manufacturing within the country under the ‘Make in India’ scheme and the civil aviation sector is a real tool, in the growth and air traffic in the country”, he added.

Mr Oleg N Avdeev, Consul General of Russian Federation in South India, the guest of honor on the occasion, in his special address said, “I see great scope in the defence sector for the Russian defence corporations. The relationship between India and Russia, in terms of defence, is close to six decades old. Armored hardware, ships, missiles systems are few of the notable collaborations between Russia and India.”

“Russia and India are moving forward together in terms of joint production and joint research”, he added.

Ernst & Young represented  by Mr Ankit Tyagi, Sr Consultant, released a Knowledge Paper on Tamil Nadu’s Defence Industrial Corridor during the occasion.

Technical Sessions

The day long conference saw a variety of experts and industry heads, share their knowledge on the evolving and developing opportunities in the A&D sectors, to the gathering.

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(L-R) Mr Nagaraju Srirama, President & Director, JK Fenner, Ms Meena Goel, Joint Secretary, AIDAT and Mr Srinivasan, Manager – Defence, Lucas TVS, during the panel discussion on ‘Migration of Auto Companies to A&D’.

One of the panel discussions also focused on the topic, ‘Migration of Auto Component Companies to A & D‘. Mr Nagaraju Srirama, President & Director, JK Fenner and Mr Srinivasan, Manager – Defence, Lucas TVS, spoke on the topic, sharing insights on how automotive component manufacturers could use their production capabilities and technical capacities, to being producing components for aerospace and defence market.