We don’t want to be a sup­plier, but a part­ner: Agus­taWest­land

SP's MAI - - MILITARY - — R. Chandrakanth

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.

AW101

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