The Indian government is investing about Rs. 100 billion (over 2.2 billion US dollars) in three major defense projects to give a fillip to research and development and in manufacturing new products, the Indo-Asian News Service reported Monday.
Inaugurating the international aerospace seminar in Bangalore in south India Monday, Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the investments were being made in projects such as the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Kaveri aircraft engine to power the LCAs and Early Warning Systems.
"Though these are ongoing projects being undertaken by the Defense Research and Development Organization, these products are being developed indigenously," Mukherjee told about 500 participants at the three-day seminar on "Aerospace Technologies: Developments and Strategies".
Referring to the cost over-runs and time delays in such ambitious projects, Mukherjee said these factors were inevitable in the case of new products and efforts should be made to address the deficiencies.
"We learn through trial and error in this type of technology development. Such complex projects do take longer time. We try to avoid both cost overruns and time delays. They are being constantly addressed," Mukherjee said.
On the opening up of the defense sector to overseas investments(FDI) up to 26 percent, the minister said it was up to the stakeholders to avail of this opportunity and leverage the strengths of the Indian aerospace industry.
"The sector has been opened. It is not that we are dying for investments. But those who are interested are welcome to bring in their investments and take advantage of the resources here for joint collaborations or ventures with their Indian counterparts," Mukherjee added.
India is already in the league of a handful of nations with the capability to develop and manufacture high-tech aircraft such as the LCA, the Intermediate Jet Trainer and the Advanced Light Helicopter.
"The co-development of the BrahMos missile with Russia is an example of what can be effectively achieved with international collaboration," Mukherjee said.