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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 16:35 GMT
Aviation firms eye booming India
Aero India 2005
Aero India is seen as a big business opportunity
India's defence minister has opened the country's Aero India 2005 air show with an invitation for global aerospace firms to outsource jobs to the nation.

Pranab Mukherjee said such companies could take advantage of India's highly skilled workers and low wages.

More than 240 civil and military aerospace firms from 31 countries are attending the show.

Analysts said India could spend up to $35bn (18.8bn) in the aviation market over the next 20 years.

Giants such Boeing and Airbus - on the civil aviation front - as well as Lockheed Martin and France's Snecma - on the military side - are some of the firms attending the show.

"There is tremendous scope for outsourcing from India in areas where the companies are competitive," said Mr Mukerjee.

"We are keen to welcome international collaborations that are in conformity with our national goals."

Military deals

Lockheed said it had signed an agreement with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) to share information on the P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft.

US F-15
The US is keen to sell its aircraft to India

In fact, the Indian Armed Force is considering the buying of used P-3 Orion as well as F-16 fighter jets from Lockheed.

The US military industry has show a strong interest to open a link with India, now that relations between the two countries have improved a lot.

In fact, it is the first time the US Air Force will attend the air show since sanctions imposed in 1998 after India's nuclear tests were lifted.

But the Indian Air Force is also considering proposals from other foreign firms such as France's Dassault Aviation, Sweden's Saab and Russia's Mikoyan-Gurevich.

Meanwhile, France's Snecma has also said it plans a joint venture with HAL to make engine parts, with an initial investment of $6.5m.

Boeing and Airbus

Airbus planes
Airbus had the supremacy over the Indian market in 2004.
On the civilian front, Boeing announced a deal with India's HCL Technologies to develop a platform for the flight test system of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The US company also said it had agreed with a new Indian budget airline the sale of 10 737-800 planes for $630m.

The airline, SpiceJet, will also have the option to acquire 10 more aircraft.

Airbus has also recently signed fresh deals with two Indian airlines - Air Deccan and Kingfisher.

In addition, the European company has plans to open a training centre in India.

Meanwhile, flag carrier Air India is considering to buy 50 new aircraft from either Boeing or Airbus.

"No other market is going to see the growth that will be seen here in the coming years," said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president Boeing.

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