Boeing sees strong defence ties under Donald Trump, increases India footprint
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New Delhi: Boeing Co. plans to start a new Indian arm dedicated to defence. Boeing Defence India (BDI) will reinforce the aircraft maker’s presence in services and support, sales and marketing, sourcing, manufacturing and engineering in the country.
India will be only the fourth country, after the UK, Australia and Saudi Arabia, where Boeing will have such a dedicated unit.
“As a key market for Boeing, we are making the changes necessary to position ourselves for future growth, drive decision making closer to the customer, strengthen partnerships with local companies in India and accelerate our efforts to achieve the country’s Make in India vision,” Leanne Caret, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said in an interview on Wednesday
“BDI will serve as a framework enabling us to draw on the growth and productivity benefits that India can offer Boeing,” he added.
Through BDI, Boeing hopes to expand its engagement with India’s ministry of defence to develop a competitive supplier base in the country that is integrated into Boeing’s global supply chain.
BDI will also oversee Boeing’s recent investments in India including the Tata Boeing Aerospace Ltd (TBAL) joint venture.
Pratyush Kumar, president of Boeing India, will also lead BDI.
“Going forward, our strategy will be to continue leveraging India’s strengths to maximize growth and productivity for Boeing and help create a robust and self-sufficient aerospace ecosystem in the country,” he said.
Boeing is sourcing products worth $500 million annually from India, Kumar said. The firm has multi-billion-dollar local sourcing commitments under the deals it has signed, including the supply of civilian planes to Air India in 2006.
Boeing is also lobbying to manufacture its F/A-18 fighter jets—the mainstay of the US navy—in India. It lost out to smaller French rival Dassault Aviation SA in what was the biggest fighter-jet deal awarded in recent years by India, a contract valued at about $8.7 billion.
Caret said she expects India-US defence ties to remain strong under the administration of President Donald Trump, noting that Trump had already spoken of the US commitment to an “enduring partnership” with India.