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Lockheed Martin wants India to fast-track defence procurement

American aerospace and defence major Lockheed Martin on Monday urged India to work on couple of areas like fast-tracking defence procurement procedures with a view to attract companies in the sector.

Phil Shaw, chief executive, Lockheed Martin India, said that the company wants to invest in India and include the country in its supply chain. He said that besides improving ease of doing business, there are couple of things that need to be done by the central government to facilitate investments for the defence sector in India.

One, he said, is “length of defence procurement is pretty long “ and in this area, states can collectively encourage the central government to speed up the process “to start to see some of the investments”. “Also the predictability of some procurement are little bit suspect,” he said here at CII’s Partnership Summit.

Shaw added that when a company spending many years talking about particular programmes and if they get cancelled or postponed, it is a bit disincentive for them. He said Indian government wants to promote defence manufacturing under the Make in India initiative but “Make in India in defence is reliant on these procurement” decisions.

Shaw also said that the government focuses on lowest cost technically acceptable solution in defence, but if the country is looking at capability, establishing industrial footprint, green technology, creating jobs and ecosystem, one needs to look beyond costs and focus on best interest of India. Lockheed Martin has proposed to manufacture custom-built F-35 fighter jets in India, which its officials say would give Indian industry a unique opportunity to become part of the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem.

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