'India will see more US investments at 49% FDI in Defence'

'India will see more US investments at 49% FDI in Defence'

India will see more investments from American companies if New Delhi raises the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) level to 49 per cent in the defence sector from the present 26 per cent, a top executive of Boeing said here.

Boeing’s vice president of international business development in Defence, Space & Security, Lt Gen Jeff Kohler said: "49 will see more investment from US companies."

"It has been very difficult to go to our senior corporate leadership and justify an investment in India at 26 per cent FDI," said Kholer, adding that he had often discussed investment potential in the huge Indian defence market with his colleagues in the aviation industry.

"49 per cent or 40+ per cent makes it much more attractive," he told Indian journalists at the Singapore Airshow.

"If it truly goes to 49 per cent, it would allow guys like me to go back to the corporate leadership and say now we have an opportunity to go and invest.

"We can show the rate of returns (on investment) to our shareholders and board of directors," said Kohler.

He said Boeing has identified quite a few small and medium enterprises in India who could raise the manufacturing capacity and capabilities.

"There are technology companies we want to work with – software and other things on a wide variety of systems," he said.

Boeing has a large operation in New Delhi and a Research Centre at Bengaluru.

"We are committed to that," he said adding "We want companies in India to grow with our business as partners for the long-term. We want them to be part of our commercial supply chain".

Kohler cited the example of Boeing’s centre of excellence in Winnipeg, Canada.

The Centre started off as a small project but it is now a major centre for Boeing’s composite work.

Among other facilities in India, Boeing has held discussions for setting up logistics support centres for the Indian navy.

"We think the opportunities are still out there," he said, adding Boeing was continuing discussions with Indian representatives on various supply options.

Among other businesses and dealings in India, Kohler said Boeing was optimistic of signing a final contract for the supply of Apache and Chinook helicopters by end of this year.

Boeing will also deliver five C17 transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force this year, having delivered five last year.

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