Saab chairman Marcus Wallenberg holds talks with govt on setting up aircraft plant
New Delhi: Swedish firm Saab AB’s chairman Marcus Wallenberg met Indian government officials this week to explore the possibility of expanding aerospace collaboration, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Wallenberg met science and technology minister Y.S. Chowdary and Andhra Pradesh officials earlier this week, along with a delegation of Swedish officials, the person mentioned above said, declining to be named.
The talks included leveraging Sweden’s strengths in high technology areas such as aerospace, as also food processing, in Andhra Pradesh, said a second person aware of the matter who also did not wish to be named.
The possibility of setting up a light aircraft manufacturing facility was discussed at the meeting, the first person cited above said.
Aerospace manufacturing has seen steady growth in Hyderabad in the past few years with the Tata group making parts for Boeing and Lockheed Martin, among others, on the city’s outskirts, besides dozens of other small and medium enterprises related to the sector that are operating in and around the city.
It was not clear how far the talks have reached. Most firms typically win orders from the Indian armed forces and source parts from India as part of the outsourcing mandate given by the government.
Science and technology minister Chowdary confirmed the meeting but declined to “get into details”.
Saab is one of the two firms in the race for India’s next multi-billion-dollar fighter jet order. The company has said it hopes to make Gripen fighter jets in India if it wins an Indian Air Force contract also being sought by a Tata group-Lockheed Martin combine.
“As a part of our interest in Make in India, we are having discussions with a large number of stakeholders for the proposed single engine fighter aircraft programme. The final location of such a facility would be on the basis of requirements of the government, our global and Indian partners and the IAF,” Saab India chairman Jan Widerström in said in an email statement on Friday.
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