AMCHAM’s Defense Committee convened virtually on December 15th to discuss the committee’s activities during the previous month. LTC Christian Mitchell, Director, ODC, U.S. Embassy briefed members on the USG delegation for DefExpo 2022 at Gandhinagar. Names of few prospective leaders who have been identified and invited were shared. Ms. Udaya Arun, Director – Aerospace & Defense, AMCHAM shared updates with members on the TeamUSA events at the DefExpo 2022, namely the U.S. industry and government closed door roundtable, aerospace and defense industry reception on the eve of DefExpo 2022 at Courtyard Marriott, Ahmedabad and the TeamUSA Seminar at Mahatma Convention Centre, Gandhinagar on show days at DefExpo 2022. Alignment between all participating organizing chambers was assured and conveyed to all members. She also requested team members to share their delegation strength and presence at DefExpo 2022 to get a sense of the U.S. industry presence. A few members were committed under the Kallman Exhibitors U.S. Pavillion while a few others were exploring taking up booth space on their own. It was understood that most of the companies were coming with a similar strength of numbers and presence as was visible during AeroIndia 2021 at Bengaluru and would be a contributing factor to the TeamUSA presence at DefExpo 2022.
Mr. Geoffrey Parish, Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy shared a few other details regarding DefExpo from a trade and exhibition point of view. Mr. William Blair, Chairman – Defense Committee, AMCHAM and Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India shared insights into the confirmation hearing of Mr. Eric Garcetti, the incoming U.S. Ambassador to India. He also shared about a CEO delegation coming to India for the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat summit in January 2022. Mr. Gaurav Mehndiratta, Co-Chairman – Defense Committee, AMCHAM and Partner and Head – Aerospace & Defense, KPMG shared the KPMG point of view on AMCHAM’s submission on the very recent DOMW clarification on wholly owned subsidiary as an Indian offset partner. The team felt that a more vigorous approach to the meeting requests should be tried since the OEMs too were facing challenges securing a meeting with the appropriate authorities at the Ministry of Defence.
Members also wanted to know if AMCHAM was approached to submit comments on MOD’s call on strategy to ensure SP Model is distinct from existing “Licensed Production” and ToT model being followed between FOEM (Foreign OEM) and DPSU/OF. It was clarified that AMCHAM was not approached, neither received any intimation but only Indian chambers like SIDM and ASSOCHAM were approached for the same. This was corroborated by a few other members. It was decided that AMCHAM should revive earlier comments on the subject matter and send in a submission to ensure that it reaches the authorities once again for consideration.
An all chambers meeting with select industry leaders was proposed during the second week of January for more clarity and information sharing for DefExpo 2022. This would serve as an information sharing and gathering exercise prior to the committee meeting proposed during the 3rd week of January.