India no longer mere option for global firms, it’s become destination: Thales India head

Paris [France], June 22 (ANI): India, given its huge market size and growth potential, is no longer an option for global companies but has turned into a key investment destination, said Ashish Saraf, vice president and country head at Thales India.

“In today’s time, India is no longer an option for global companies, India has become mandatory for them. This is happening because of India’s growth, India’s market size, our domestic consumption and our economic growth which is being projected to be more than 6 per cent this year and through its Make in India program,” Saraf told ANI in an interaction on the sidelines of the ongoing week-long Paris Air Show. “Every company is coming to India and setting up their operations and factories. We are taking advantage of the consumption-based market,” Saraf added.

The orders for aircraft placed by Indian Airlines — Air India, Indigo, and Akasa Air, according to Thales India, will result into a lot of job creation in India.

“To make one aeroplane at least 150 direct and more than 150 indirect jobs are created. Within 4 months Indian airlines have placed at least 1000 aircraft orders. Overall, the jobs that will be created by the airlines of India will be more than 1.5 lakh direct and more than 1.5 lakh indirect,” he added.

A lot of jobs in the aviation space, for services and maintenance, are expected to be generated through these mega deals.

Thales has about 2000 employees in seven cities across India and the company provides solutions in the Aerospace, Space, Defence to Digital Identity and Security, and Transportation sectors.

“These developments not only bring growth in the economy but also give an opportunity for growth to the entire ecosystem, there will be also investment in airport infrastructure. This will create jobs at airports as well because technologies will also have to be deployed there,” he said.

Thales is looking to set up an MRO facility in India to serve its domestic customers.

“It has already partnered with Bharat Dynamics Limited to bring one of the state-of-the-art missile systems — Starstreak — to India.”

StarStreak is a short-range, man-portable, air-defence system manufactured by Thales in the UK and is optimised to provide defence against air threats.

Depending on customer requirements, it can be configured in both man-portable and vehicle-mounted battlefield roles and is the fastest missile of its type in the world, highly accurate and resistant to countermeasures. StarStreak systems are in active service during the Ukraine conflict and over the last few years it has been deployed on multiple operations.

Meanwhile, India’s participation in the Paris Air Show, which takes place every two years, has been increasing.

“This time Paris Air Show has happened after four years (due to Covid). Thales has a strong presence this time bringing forth our latest technologies in civil aviation, defence aerospace and space to the Show. Lots of Indian companies have also set up stalls and chalets here. HAL has a chalet, Tata and L&T have chalets and many of our supply chain partners have marked their presence too,” he noted, reiterating that Indian companies are going global.