Economy

‘Rolls-Royce focussing on establishing a footprint in India for the long-haul’

Nayanima Basu Chennai | Updated on April 12, 2018 Published on April 12, 2018

KISHORE JAYARAMAN, President (India and South Asia), Rolls-Royce.

British jet engine-maker Rolls-Royce is now focussed on establishing a footprint in this country for the long-haul even as it continues to strengthen its position in the country in Defence, civil and power systems segments.

In an interview with BusinessLine, Kishore Jayaraman, President (India and South Asia), Rolls-Royce, said that while it is looking at making a transformational shift from capacity to creation under ‘Make in India’ programme, it is still not the time to build complex aircraft engines in India. Excerpts:

What are your plans for India in terms of focus areas?

I think a bigger play for Rolls Royce is about establishing a footprint in this country for the long-haul.

I always look at business and say it’s about scale and scalability.

In order to get scale, the question is where all we can participate and how can we participate. We are three business segments – civil aerospace, Defence and power systems.

What about expanding your presence in the Defence space in India?

In Defence, we have been in this country for a very long time. We participated in the aerospace sector, we participated in the Navy, we participated in the Army and in all these areas we have started saying what have we done with ‘Make in India.’ And if you look at the technology transfer agreement that was there since 1956 with HAL. We have also tried to localise as much as we can for the products that we sell. From a Defence point of view, our aerospace engines we have been partners with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and we have been able to leverage that partnership into a joint venture for civil.

How do you plan to approach this?

We have covered a long journey from capacity towards capability. Next phase of the journey will be about creation. It’s a 3Cs I want to focus from now on – capacity, capability and creation. In the creation phase, we are designing and developing products and services in India for India and for the globe. And I think at stage the business moves from scale to scalability and sustainability. Meantime, we will fight for a fair share of our products and service those locally.

There were talks of Rolls Royce bringing the Trent 700 jet engines to India that power the Airbus A330 tanker aircraft…

No. Aircraft engine is a very complex technology. And it is not easy to keep transferring it around the world. You can create a separate supply chain for it but to put up a new facility it is a very long process, very expensive process and also it has to based on the need. Right now there is no need for it in India.

From our point of view, we feel right now we should design and develop an engine in India and not look at bring in an engine to India. We can develop a new design that I can easily take and adapt it to an aircraft in India. It is a question of what is it we need to do today and for tomorrow. And in that scheme of things does this fit in.

What about your collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation for developing gas turbine technology?

We are still working on it. It is a very big programme and I think both the governments (India and UK) are keen to get it done. But I think it’s a question of priorities. This programme takes a long time.

But the UK was extremely keen on it, so where are talks stuck?

Initially, we had to bring in both the governments. Then we had to bring in the local organisations like DRDO and make them understand its future need. Based on those planning the government-to-government talks will happen and they have to allocate the funding for it and this process is complicated. We look to figure out how to stay tune with all the different stakeholders and make sure we are doing everything that provides them the right level of cooperation and collaboration. So that at the end of the day we are able to come out with a programme.

Once the programme rolls out, we will put an end date and finish it as per that.

Published on April 12, 2018
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