Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is going to hold a meeting with Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to promote the ambitious project of setting up a light combat aircraft manufacturing unit in Maharashtra.
The possibility of setting up the unit in Nagpur is not being ruled out. The orange city is also the home town of Fadnavis. The meeting is likely to take place at month end.
Fadnavis’ proposed project comes in the wake of the decision taken by Parrikar to promote indigenously made aircraft in India. The defence minister has indicated that India would require at least 100 new light combat aircraft within the next five years.
The mandate from PM Narendra Modi to Parrikar is to promote manufacturing hub in defence sector in India. Speaking to Indian Express Fadnavis said, “Maharashtra which is the leading industrial state has proposed setting up of new defence manufacturing unit.”
He said, “It is my endeavour to have an aircraft manufacturing unit in Maharashtra. Since, the subject comes under the ministry of defence, I am going to hold a meeting with Manohar Parrikar to take the matter forward.”
Emphasising he said, “I am looking forward to push Maharashtra’s case for the manufacturing unit.”
The chief minister indicated that Nagpur’s Mihan which already has 100 billion dollar Boeing aircraft maintenance and repair overhaul (MOR) depot is being considered positively.
From all aspects Nagpur is suitable for the aircraft unit. However, final decisions will be arrived after consultations with centre. Fadnavis said, “At this moment my priority is to promote new industrial ventures in Maharashtra which is the destination for global players.
Whether it is Nagpur or Aurangabad or other towns and cities we are determined to transform them into smart cities for overall socio-economic growth of state.” After all, Maharashtra contributes upto 15 percent of the National GDP, he added.
Fadnavis revealed, “During my tour abroad last week I visited the aerospace and defence company SAAB at Linkoping Sweden. It was a great experience as we exchanged knowledge about the advanced technology in making of the combat aircraft.”
The chief minister said, “The centre-state will pursue the matter and we expect the delegations to arrive in state soon.” Maharashtra government will also put in place its detail defence policy after consultations with ministry of defense and PMO.
The decision to chose Nagpur comes in wake of the availability of plenty of land and available infrastructure. The city which is geographically is centrally located in India, has the potential to emerge as the aircraft manufacturing hub in coming years, it was felt.
During his visit abroad last week chief minister hopped Germany, Sweden, Stockholm to promote Make in India with special emphasise on Maharashtra. Fadnavis accompanied Modi to the trade fair at Hannover Messe.
Fadnavis said, “The purpose of the visit was to impress upon the global players the ease of doing business in India and specially in Maharashtra.
And I must concede that global players showed keen interest in Maharashtra. They reckon India is the new destination. And several delegations are expected to visit Maharashtra in next few months.”