We don’t want to be a supplier, but a partner: AgustaWestland
The mainstream media in Kochi had splashed across their front pages the interview of Jackie Callcut, Chief Executive Officer of AgustaWestland India, thus eclipsing the inauguration of India’s first Naval and Maritime Exposition (NAMEXPO 2013). The media was following AgustaWestland which is under the scanner on charges of corruption in the ` 3,727-crore contract for 12 AW-101 VVIP helicopters for the Indian Air Force.
Flattered by the coverage, Jackie Callcut told SP’s M.A.I. that it was understandable that the media was chasing the story. “There is no denying that it has been a difficult year for us, but we are confident in the Indian system and we have nothing to hide. We will be totally vindicated and we hope AgustaWestland will be restored to its former position.”
The defence market, she remarked, is not an easy one, particularly at this moment and the equipment programme for the Indian armed forces have been delayed due to certain weaknesses in the system. “Notwithstanding these issues, AgustaWestland will continue to expand its presence in India. We want to bring the best of technologies here and we want to have joint ventures on equitable terms.”
For that to happen, she affirms that India has to further liberalise its foreign direct investment policy. “To get high-end technologies, the stake has to be better than 26 per cent. We are keen on developing indigenous capabilities, but the market needs to be incentivised.”
As regards AgustaWestland’s footprints in India, she mentioned the relationship beginning with Seaking helicopters and the prog- ress towards a joint venture with Tatas for civil helicopters. Talking about the potential of the naval market, she said that “the company would continue its support of Seaking helicopters and participate in the tender for 56 naval utility helicopters (NUH) replacement and the multi-role helicopter replacement.”
“At the end of the day, we don’t want to be just a supplier, but a partner,” she asserted.