News Breaks


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Breaking! Finmeccanica refuses comment

Neelam Mathews
Aug 26, 2014


While there are some good tidings coming from the Modi government, I must say the practice being adopted to release an 'unofficial' statement through just a certain segment in the press, is in the steps of the past government. There are no sources quoted and no official sources.

This is truly sending wrong signals to our foreign partners we want to do business with and leaving OEMs to clam up and probably writhe in agony.

An example is this  Statement issued by Finmeccanica on the AW101 deal - 

"With reference to the many and often contradictory press articles concerning alleged decisions by the Indian MoD relating to existing contracts and future business with Finmeccanica companies, Finmeccanica would like to clarify that at the moment it has not received any official communication from any of the relevant authorities. Thus, Finmeccanica will not make any comments on these press reports."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Breaking- Good Tidings on Defense FDI

Neelam Mathews
Aug 25, 2014

Our expectations from the Modi Government are reaping rewards already.

Impatient industry people will be glad to hear that very soon services can be used for offsets. The previous government's hair-brained idea is out of the window. Hopefully this policy has come to stay and there will be some provision to ensure it is not being misused. Bringing in financial institutional funding too, could be a step in the right direction.

We are also hearing, but could not confirm the new FDI structure will clarify that the Indian stake of 51% in a joint venture can be split, giving some relief and hopefully more investment in an industry that has failed to take off. As for 100% FDI, it will be on a case-to-case basis. Which is fair enough.

Licensing is also being rationalized.
Now we just hope politics will not come in the way of nation building.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Airports India and US combine in security initiative

21 August 2014

Key Points

  • Rapiscan and L-3 will have the chance to showcase their technologies to the AAI and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security
  • As the aviation market in India grows, new airports will require investment in security equipment to meet international aviation safety and security standards
A USD200,000 security co-operation agreement under the Aviation Co-operation Program (ACP) is to be signed between the US Trade Development Agency and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) later this month or in early September 2014, IHS Jane's has learned.
Under the Aviation Security Equipment Testing and Evaluation Program, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will provide technical assistance and host visits of Indian aviation security officials to its testinglaboratories.........

You Rock Marion Blakey!

Posted By- Neelam Mathews
Aug 22, 2014

Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion Blakey accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge today from Capt. Lee Moak of the Air Line Pilots Association and made a personal donation of $1,000 to further support the effort to end ALS.  
Her challenge went out to Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson and their head of government relations Andrea Newman, along with Club for Growth’s president Chris Chocola, and the Export-Import Bank’s chairman and president Fred Hochberg - you have 24 hours.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Breaking- AAI sans Chairman again?

Neelam Mathews
Aug 21, 2014

Barely had Alok Sinha Jt Secy in MOCA taken over from Mr Agarwal as Chairman, AAI, this year, word has it, he is returning to his state UP cadre on Aug 24.

Why can’t these decisions be made even a year in advance to ensure smooth functioning of our organisations? It is becoming increasingly easy to understand why not much work is being done at the Airports Authority of India. Blame the system of transfers or the just the system that does not create loyalty of any sort. 

We saw some adhocism and flip flops in the case of Rohit Nandan CMD of Air India too. As Bharat Bhushan is soon to join AERA - which we could not officially confirm- we are hearing Mr Raheja will be the temp replacement of Sinha.

Nuclear Annihilation -a Satirical Look

Posted by-Neelam Mathews
Aug 21, 2014

Easily one of my favorite hosts alongwith Jon Stewart.
Wish we could have something like this in India! The ability to laugh at ourselves but not letting the main issue slip by.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Analysis- NDA- In the Business of Nothingness? Not Again Please!

Neelam Mathews
Aug 14, 2014 

Recently, while visiting the head office of a US publication I write for regularly, I was surprised to hear myself as was my editor, to hear me wax eloquent on the new government and its plans and how we as Indians finally saw hope on the horizon. For a person reporting deals and scams for the past few years, this was a transformation, and the editors eagerly offered me numerous assignments.
Digging a bit deeper for my stories, I sadly found the same bureaucratic mindset and stubbornness to change and a ministry making unofficial leaks, ensuring journos hear their point of view alone. Twitter and a news agency is now the government’s mouthpiece and they do not reply to queries!
Dear lord- this administrative inertia is what I had not voted for! I had voted for a promised change in policies to push India ahead, a fresh mindset and a freedom of expression- within limits of course.
All this was reinforced after I read a story on Rolls Royce being pulled out of the defense blacklist due to ‘operational reasons.’ Nobody in the MoD confirmed nor denied this. Rolls has heard neither of the blacklist nor its pullout! So much for clarity. If we do not make transparency our policy as it has never been in the past, afraid we will continue to keep business out of our country. So much for mega export and manufacturing plans! Besides, do we really expect OEMs to do business with us, invest heavily, when they do not even know if they are allowed to work with us at all?
Take Finmeccanica. Till today, our new govt. has kept decisions at abeyance. Now at least following the Italian court’s judgment, we know the company was not at fault. If ‘operational’ reasons are good enough to bring back one company, then why not another? The group is involved in railways, aviation defense. So, will we stop running our railways, pull out the ILS from airports?

Defense has even larger connotations. We need to recognize that barring our own HAL and DRDO,  that want to produce every part indigenously, the rest of the world has moved on to a global supply network. Even Kamov helicopters have a Selex system. Do you want to ground Kamovs too?
Today the torpedoes order is on hold. As is the RFP on the Navy multi-role helicopters. Selex radars and naval guns are other products whose fate hangs in balance. Will India hold up spares for Sea Kings? What happens to the only indigenous Avro replacement project- the pride of India’s private sector?  Unless a decision is made, this is bound to become a single vendor situation, and as many in its ilk, be swept away even as the security of the country cries out for help.
Frankly, I resent my tax money rotting as the three AW101 VVIP helos stand in a hangar for want of rotables just because some political party wanted brownie points to look clean.
Perhaps the minds making these faulty decisions do not realize that our armaments including missiles that are loaded on Rafale, Mirage, and Jaguar are all from MBDA- part of the Finmeccanica group along with other European companies. Should we blacklist them too? NDA talks proudly of the benefits of manufacturing. Take the civilian AW119 Tata-AW JV manufacturing facility festering even as the FIPB unapproved and then approved the project. I will not be surprised if the company is holding the project back in the hope that it will one day get approval in writing not through a journalistic source.
Many OEMs presently looking at doing business in India said while they had great hopes that change would be the mantra of the NDA government, they do not see much action on ground. While we agree it’s only three months since the new administration has taken charge, it’s time for clarity on decisions- whether they are palatable or not. That's the only way new business will come in and trust will be formed.

Or we'll once again fall into that black hole called policy paralysis.