New Delhi: Highlighting the growth potential of India's aviation sector, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday said now is the time for aerospace players to look at leveraging the opportunities in the country.
Amid the global aviation segment facing headwinds of geopolitical issues and supply chain woes, the civil aviation minister also said India is the "promised land" that can help offset the risks.
The minister was speaking at the International Aerospace Conference on the theme 'Moving Towards Inclusive Global Value Chain' in Gwalior, which is also his home constituency.
The country is one of the fastest aviation markets in the world, Scindia said adding that the number of air passengers is expected to reach 42.5 crore by 2035 from the current level of 14.5 crore.
"India has tremendous capabilities, possibilities for all of you (aerospace players)... Time has come for all of you to think afresh," he emphasised.
"Now, it is time for aerospace industry players to supplant themselves in India," Scindia said and highlighted that there are multiple reasons, including that the number of airports, heliports and waterdromes in the country will increase from 148 to more than 200 in the next three to five years.
The B20 conference has been curated by CII in partnership with the civil aviation ministry and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers.
"As we talk about our competitive advantage, it is also in the fullness of things and fitness of things that to offset your risks... geopolitical risks, supply chain logistics risks, companies around the world are looking for a new promised land. The new promised land is... India," the minister said.
According to the minister, civil aviation was once considered an elitist product but the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN has democratised civil aviation, which needs to grow as a service as well as product.
"The time is today... I do believe that there is a yawning gap between supply and demand... not only look at India but take that step because this country is the ready platform for you if there is one anywhere in the world," Scindia said.
Scindia also said that it was for the first time in the history of India that an airport was being built in a the record time of 15 months.
He was referring to the new domestic terminal at Gwalior airport spread on 2.5 lakh square metres of land and the airport is to be inaugurated in December this year.
Salil Gupte, Chairman, CII National Committee on Aerospace, and Head of Boeing India, mentioned the country's vast potential within the aerospace industry.
With strategic interventions and collaborative efforts, he said India's aerospace industry will grow from its current valuation of USD 1 billion to USD 10 billion annually.
On the first day of the two-day conference, discussions were around spawning robust aerospace manufacturing with a specific focus on MSMEs, the integration of globalO services and air mobility, among other topics.
At a session, Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon, who is Madhya Pradesh's Minister of the Department of Industrial Policy & Investment Promotion, said the state is fully prepared to welcome the potential industrial investors.