Bangalore: India on Wednesday firmly ruled out cut in defence spending despite economic downturn, as top aviation companies vying to secure the prized deal to supply 126 fighter aircraft to Indian Air Force, showcased their products at the Aero India 2009 which got off to a flying start in the Karnataka capital.
Keeping in mind the country’s security interests, the government will not slash defence expenditure despite economic recession, defence minister A.K. Antony said inaugurating the five-day biennial event in which 26 countries are participating.
“Our defence expenditure at present is about 2.5% of the GDP. Despite economic recession there is no question of scaling down our defence expenditure or compromising with our acquisition programmes,” Antony said.
Asserting India was keen on strengthening its military prowess and ensure it had the best, he said the show would showcase country’s emergence as an attractive market and a key outsourcing hub for global aerospace firms.
Underlining the government’s focus on public-private partnership in the defence sector, he said,“Our defence industry is now open upto 100% Indian private sector participation, while FDI (foreign direct investment) is permissible upto 26%”.
The air show, the biggest in Asia, is taking place as India is technically evaluating bids from different companies to buy 126 modern fighter jets for IAF.