The ceremony was witnessed by French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly, Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, France’s ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler, and Kokilaben Ambani, Tina Anil Ambani and Anmol Anil Ambani.
The DRAL facility, named Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park (DAAP), is located in the Mihan SEZ adjoining Nagpur’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport.
The joint venture also represents the largest single foreign direct investment (FDI) by Dassault Aviation of over €100mn in one location in India.
Under the JV company, DRAL (51% Reliance Aerostructure and 49% Dassault Aviation), the facility will initially manufacture components for the Legacy Falcon 2000 Series of civil jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation and thus will become part of its global supply chain.
These first steps are expected to achieve in the coming years, the possible setting up of final assembly of Rafale and Falcon aircraft.
The DRAL facility will train thousands of skilled workers in aviation assembly and integration, and lead to huge employment generation in Nagpur and its surrounding areas.
It will also attract and house an organic ecosystem of over 200 MSMEs to secure the component and avionics manufacturing needs of Rafale and Falcon jets.
Dassault Aviation chairman, Trappier, declared that “this Foundation Stone laying demonstrates Dassault’s firm commitment to implementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme. It gives the 65 year-long strong association of Dassault Aviation in India a new momentum and the will of future manufacturing developments.”
Reliance Group Chairman, Anil D Ambani, stated that “this facility in MIHAN Nagpur within the Aerospace Park named after my late father Dhirubhai Ambani could not have happened without the strong and consistent support of Gadkari and Fadnavis”.
The Reliance Dassault partnership will bring high levels of Technology Transfer to make India a major supplier in the global aviation supply chain, he added.
“It will be the endeavour of both Dassault and Reliance to fully support Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ policies and to accelerate India’s pursuit of self-sufficiency in the aerospace sector,” Ambani assured.
Explaining how the project germinated during the ceremony, Ambani said: “First, owing to the general mindset, Bengaluru, was the choice, then Hyderabad. Eric (Dassault chairman) even suggested going to Gujarat.”
“But I said I wanted to go to Nagpur, which was first suggested by Gadkari or he said he would banish me from the country if I took the project elsewhere,” Ambani said on a lighter note.
“Then Fadnavis assured that everything I need would be done for the project at Mihan,” he said.
He lauded the state government for the ease of doing business, speed of doing the work and clarity in the entire process which finally helped the Reliance-Dassault project see the light of day.
He revealed that the Indian Navy has requested for 57 aircraft for its aircraft carriers, the feasibility for which would be worked out.
India’s Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Kokilaben Ambani, Tina Anil Ambani and Anmol Ambani during the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Dassault Reliance Aerospace manufacturing facility at the Mihan SEZ in Nagpur.