Reliance Infrastructure of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group has received government approvals for its planned $1-billion Greenfield aerospace park near Nagpur. “We can now start working on the first unit by August and hope to complete it by first quarter of 2018,” said Mr Rajesh Dhingra, chief executive officer at Reliance Defence, an arm of Reliance Infra. “All our aerospace-related units will be based in this one location. We will invest around $1 billion (about Rs 6,500 crore) on developing the entire part,” he told ET. The board of approval for special economic zones (SEZs) in the ministry of commerce has given its approval to the proposed aerospace park spread across 289 acres at Mihan near Nagpur. The park aims to carry out business worth over Rs 200,000 crore over the next 30 years, the company said. In the first phase, the project will build manufacturing unit for production of aircraft, electronic warfare systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, maintenance repair and overhaul for commercial aircraft, and complete eco system, including ancillary units and suppliers, to support these large projects. This development will be spread over 104 acres and the second phase will cover an additional area of 185 acres. Mr Dhingra, who is a former Indian Air Force officer, has been at the helm for the company’s aerospace business even before it acquired Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering in 2015 to make a foray into the sector. Since the acquisition, Reliance Defence has signed collaboration deals with international defence manufacturers and joined the race to grab a slice of the country’s defence spend along with other private players like Larsen & Toubro, Tata Group, and Mahindra Group. Reliance Group last year entered into separate joint ventures with French defence majors Dassault Aviation and Thales. In both the ventures, the Indian partner will hold majority 51% stake. The company has already incorporated the Dassault JV and it will be the first project it undertakes in the aerospace park, officials said. Both the JVs will be based out of Mihan SEZ and will work towards the execution of offset obligation worth up to Rs 30,000 crore for the 36 Rafale fighter jets being bought by India for Rs 60,000 crore, the company said.
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