Antony says LCAs, MBTs the highlight of Seventh Aero India show

A K AntonyYelahanka (Karnataka), Feb. 11 : Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday described the Light Combat Aircraft and Main Battle Tanks as the highlights of the seventh edition of ''Aero India 2009''.

Making these remarks while inaugurating the Asia''s premier air show at Yelahanka Air Force Station today, he said the performance of LCAs and MBTs was very satisfactory as they stole the show at the grand spectacle.

"This year''s Aero India is biggest ever in size and scale in terms of arrangements, participation, business delegations and most importantly the coordination between various agencies organizing the show. All these developments are enough to say that India is emerging as a great aero-space power. The maneuvers of Indian made LCAs and MBTs make India feel proud," he stated.

"We are not going to stop with these initial successes. Our aim is to achieve at least 70 percent self sufficiency and indigenous production capacity, which is about 30 percent currently. We will achieve this goal with the efforts of DRDO, PSUs and Armed Forces," he added.

Antony also outlined several measures and how the Government was overcoming several bottlenecks.

He explained how India has come a long way from the time when its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had initiated the process of defence production in India from literally zero ground level.

He said several hurdles like end-user verification provisions of US for supplying defence equipment are being sorted out through consultations and negotiations.

"When we started LCAs and MBTs, many were skeptic about our capabilities, but now we have proven that we can. Similarly India will increase domestic production component of our defence needs either through our own projects or co-production," Antony explained. (ANI)