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Shifting power dynamics are seeing an increase in Indo-US cooperation

Mayank Dalmia, Director – BD and Marketing, Wave Mechanics, provides useful insights into the steps to be taken by the manufacturing industry to help grow India’s aerospace sector


Bengaluru – headquartered Wave Mechanics offers a range of machining solutions such as CNC horizontal and vertical Machines, quality Instruments from CMMs (Coordinate Measuring Machines) to Digital Gauges for development of prototypes and large volume production and other requirements for RF, microwave and electronics industries.  Presenting, edited excerpts of an interaction with Mayank Dalmia, Director – Business Development and Marketing, Wave Mechanics Pvt. Ltd that we had on the status of India’s aerospace industry and the role of manufacturers.

India’s still-evolving aerospace industry: Challenge or opportunity 

We see this as an opportunity. It has become widely accepted that the Indian civil aerospace market is poised to be amongst the largest in the world, comparable only with those of the US and China. Add the high defence-aero spending to the mix and we have an ideal landscape for a long-term sustainable growth story. In order for us to reach that level, our aerospace ecosystem must become mature to match the levels of countries such as the US. The bridging of this gap clearly offers massive growth opportunities for the Indian Aerospace ecosystem.

However the path to success is fraught with challenges due to the intricacies of aerospace industry’s specific needs, which demand the highest standards of manufacturing and systems. Another challenge for the industry is to change the perception of India being a destination only for low-cost manufacturing to one where India’s manufacturing is known for quality and reliability.

Leveraging strengths to accelerate growth 

Government support is critical in order for the industry to capitalize on India’s inherent strengths. This is especially critical for the SMEs as many aspects of the business today make the sustainability and profitability of SMEs a challenge. The support of the government is also required to provide infrastructure requirements that are conducive for growth of the sector. There needs to be a political will to initiate the indigenisation of defence and provide institutional support to the local talent.

With these attributes in place, the industry will be elevated to a platform from where it can increase its share in the global industry multi-fold.

Can India take advantage of the shifting global trade dynamics caused by the US-China trade war?

Even though an immediate opportunity exists due to the trade war, very few Indian companies are positioned well enough to capitalize on that. What is more exciting is that the shifting power dynamics are seeing Indo-US cooperation increasing day-by-day in order to counterbalance China. We hope this provides opportunities for increased cooperation with the US ecosystem in the areas of technology transfers, joint ventures and partnerships, and of course the further opening up of the large US commercial market to Indian companies.

What are the long-term implications of developments such as French aerospace major Safran’s plan to build Rs 290-crore plant for LEAP engines in Hyderabad?

The Indo-French cooperation in the field of aerospace has been well-documented and is an example for other countries to follow. Industry bodies such as GIFAS (Groupement des industries françaises aéronautiques et spatiales, the French Aerospace Industries Association) and IFCCI (Indo-French Chamber of Commerce & Industry) are opening new doors of collaboration.

SAFRAN setting up shop at Telangana is a signal of more to come. Large investments by foreign OEMs and Tier-1s are excellent as the entire industry would then gain exposure to state-of-the-art manufacturing and the local talent will get opportunities to work in world class facilities, which will trigger lateral requirements. The possibility of a high-degree of localisation of sourcing for these engines will have a trickle-down effect, creating lateral and vertical opportunities for companies like us.


Leveraging strengths to accelerate growth

A well-trained talent pool coupled with the low cost of manufacturing has attracted a lot of companies to set base in India through various options like sourcing contracts, JVs, takeovers, local offices, etc. The industry is getting used to the tough requirements of the sector. Small industries have access to big players and markets. OEMs, Tier-1 and Tier-2 players all have long-term plans with Indian sources with scopes of work that go beyond low-cost manufacturing, which is a positive development for the industry at large. Dedicated SEZs & corridors for aerospace are coming up across the country vying for capital investments from Indian and foreign players.

Top challenges

For newer companies, several challenges lie in [the path of] entering the domain as a serious contender with systems, processes and regulatory approvals in place. Gaining an experience of working under these conditions is a paramount need. Training the workforce to meet the demanding levels of skill and communication is another major challenge. [Compliances with] statutory and regulatory requirements are another concern due to the infancy of the industry vertical. Lastly, deep pockets and financial strengths are essential to sustain and ensure growth.

Stereotypical perceptions about the local industry [prevalent in the international market] continue to be a challenge that can only be addressed through actions rather than words.

Mayank Dalmia, Director – BD and Marketing, Wave Mechanics

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