R Madhavan, CMD of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, said raising the sectoral cap of FDI to 74% and a negative list for the import of defence equipment in India were major steps in the right direction

Mumbai: With an aim to push indigenous and local material and software as part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, the Union government announced a slew of measures taking the vision of the draft defence procurement policy even further. ET Now spoke to R Madhavan CMD, Hindustan Aeronautics about the government’s initiatives and gauging the impact of the lockdown on the company.

Hailing the government’s moves as extremely positive, Madhavan said raising the sectoral cap of foreign direct investment (FDI) (automatic approval) from the existing 49 per cent to 74 per cent and a negative list for the import of defence equipment in India were major steps in the right direction. “India has become an attractive destination on the defence front. A negative list of imported weapons will allow Indian products to be used more in the defence sector. Opening FDI should look to bring new technology along with manufacturing,” he said.

Alluding to a constraint in operations due to the lockdown, Madhavan said that although HAL has restarted operations in April after losing some production in lockdown, the domestic and international supply chains were impacted due to lockdown. The company has a number of major orders in the pipeline and will complete the delivery of 70 Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) by 2026. “We have made a pitch for an Advanced Light Helicopter, and can make necessary modifications.”

Focusing on the ‘Make In India’ initiatives, Madhavan said, “The private industry should take the initiative and partner with OEMs to set up manufacturing in India. The availability of a large population of technically qualified manpower is a boost for the country.” Although he is of the view that there is a need to see a speed up the decision-making process. Aerospace according to him will see an increase in demand. “Aerospace is highly technologically driven and needs a lot of capex. There is a requirement of enhancing capacity in certain areas,” said Madhavan.