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IAF Chief pushes for regulation of aerospace industries

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Defence Minister AK Antony and Chief of Air Staff FH Major(L) at the opening of Aero India 2009 International Seminar, in Bengaluru on February 9, 2009. DPR photo

BANGALORE (PTI): In order to cut "wasteful expenditure" and duplication of efforts, Chief of Air Staff F H Major on Monday sought creation of an apex body to coordinate and regulate aerospace industries.

India's economic upswing in the last two decades has resulted in substantial surge in aerospace industries in the country, the Air Chief Marshal said, adding, "This is an encouraging sign".

However, as the aerospace industry is unregulated, "we run the risk of wasteful expenditure and duplication of efforts", the Air Chief Marshal said addressing a seminar conducted biennially along with Asia's biggest air show, Aero India 2009, which gets underway here on Wednesday.

"Therefore, there is a definite need for an effective apex agency to coordinate and regulate the activities of many organs that constitute our aerospace industry and to provide focus so that (there is) development of a coherent national aerospace capability", he said.

The Chief of Air Staff said India must identify core technologies to be developed, and aggressively design and manufacture them. Attempting to design and develop "every thing" is not cost-effective, he said.

Noting that several nations have benefited from collaborations and joint ventures in the defence and aerospace sector, the Air Chief Marshal said India must identify zones of technologies it would like to develop and then concentrate on developing world-class niche technologies through joint ventures and partnerships. Speaking in the context of India's "turbulent neighbourhood", he said his personal opinion is that stability cannot be ensured by display of power.

"We, therefore, need to demonstrate credible aerospace capability to protect our assets and interests and meet out unacceptable punishment as and when required", the Chief of Air Staff added but did not elaborate.

He also said that development cycle of a product from design stage to operationalisation has to be reduced. "Otherwise, the equipment runs the risk of becoming obsolete".

He called for increasing user interface in the design and development process. While user interface existed today, it needs to be more intrusive and take a more effective role. "User must always remain the captain", he said.

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