New Delhi, Jan 5 (IECurrentAffairs) Despite putting Congress on virtual backfoot after Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech demolishing the campaign of “calumny on Rafale” in the Lok Sabha, the BJP leadership is playing cautious with French firm Dassault Aviation and thus the Gujarat government has not invited it for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
According to BJP sources, the Gujarat government this year will be making an ambitious endeavour to boost the state’s share in defence and aerospace industries and thus will organise a Plenary Session on these sectors during the mega Business event, originally a brainchild of Narendra Modi during his tenure as the Chief Minister.
“The Plenary Session on Defence on January 18 will be attended among others by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman but no representatives from Dassault Aviation will be here,” a party source told UNI.
Gujarat government’s push for defence and aerospace industries will be more this year as three non-BJP ruled states of Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka have higher “percentage of respective states contribution” in defence and aerospace industries.
The reason to avoid inviting Dassault was just to avoid controversy in the wake of Congress attack on the Modi government to help Anil Ambani run an inexperienced defence company bagging the offset contract with Dassault for supplying Rafale fighter jets to India.
“The decision was by state authorities and organisers of Vibrant Gujarat Summit but the central leadership was kept informed,” the source said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, among others, have congratulated Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her eloquent reply in Lok Sabha at the end of a marathon debate pioneered by Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, in Gandhinagar, the refrain from Jai Prakash Shivhare, CEO of Dholera investment project dealing with defence, has been that there is limitation of space and everyone cannot be accommodated for the Plenary Session.
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has in the past evinced interest to partner with the government of Gujarat to build the Rs 2,000 crore airport at Dholera.
The airport at the biggest upcoming greenfield city in India under the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project at Dholera will be built over four years.
The Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat is pushing Dholera as a major upcoming industrial hub especially with a mission mode to push it’s own defence manufacturing and aerospace industries development.
In January 18, Plenary Session on Defence, big players of the field such as Airbus and Lockheed Martin are expected to grace Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
This year’s Vibrant Gujarat Summit will be the ninth edition of the mega event which was originally launched in 2003.
Over the years during his stint as the Chief Minister, Mr Modi used the Summit to project Gujarat as an ideal industrial hub especially aftermath 2002 mayhem.
After United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the first Islamic nation to join the summit as a “partner country” in 2017, this year a troika of nations — including Morocco, UAE and Uzbekistan — will join the summit.