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Altran to expand in India
by Staff Writers
Bangalore, India (UPI) Apr 27, 2012

Egypt ruler tries to resolve Saudi diplomatic crisis
Cairo (AFP) April 28, 2012 - Egypt's military ruler was in touch with Saudi officials on Saturday to resolve a diplomatic spat after Riyadh withdrew its ambassador following protests outside its mission, MENA news agency reported.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi "communicated with Saudi officials to work on ending the rift resulting from Saudi Arabia's surprise decision to recall its ambassador," the official news agency reported.

The Gulf kingdom said earlier on Saturday that it was recalling its envoy and closing its embassy following protests over the detention of an Egyptian lawyer Saudi Arabia says tried to smuggle drugs into the country.

HRW criticises Cameron over Indonesia arms sales
Jakarta (AFP) April 27, 2012 - Human Rights Watch criticised British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday for saying Britain should resume arms sales to Indonesia after a 13-year ban.

The international watchdog said the call was untimely because rights abuses continue in Indonesia.

On April 11, Cameron on a state visit to Jakarta hailed Indonesia's transformation from dictatorship to democracy, calling the country a model for Egypt and other Muslim-majority countries in political transition.

In an interview published locally during his visit, Cameron said there was no reason to withhold arms sales to Jakarta.

"Britain makes some of the best defence equipment in the world and it is reasonable that it is available to Indonesia, under the very same criteria that we apply to all our partners around the world," Cameron told the Kompas daily.

Britain banned defence exports to Indonesia in 1999 following accusations that British-made fighter planes were used in counter-insurgency attacks in East Timor, then an Indonesian province.

"Given the ongoing and serious human rights abuses in Indonesia, it is not clear why you have chosen this moment to relax these controls," Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Cameron, dated April 18 but made public Friday.

"At the very least, the UK government should publicly press for agreement that this equipment will not be used for the repression of Indonesia's own citizens," it said.

HRW said Cameron's description of Indonesia's transformation was an overstatement and that it was concerned the Indonesian military would use British equipment to suppress people in the Papua region.

A major French technology group plans to expand operations in India to meet local customer needs and serve the larger Asia market.

Altran, a leader in high-tech engineering consulting, said India has emerged as a key market with strong potential for its aerospace, railway and energy businesses. It is also strategic to the company's growth.

"At present, we are conducting discussions with several key players, we expect to announce these acquisitions as soon as we complete the due diligence process," said Michel Bailly, chief technical officer of the Altran Group.

"We believe that these acquisitions will strengthen our existing capabilities in order to enhance our offerings."

Altran's expansion in India appears part of a trend. Bell Helicopter of the United States is opening an office in New Delhi. It already has helicopter maintenance and repair facilities in India in partnership with local companies.

"As one of the world's fastest growing economies and a large and diverse geographical area, India presents many opportunities for vertical lift," John L. Garrison, president chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter, said earlier this month.

More than 100 Bell aircraft are flying in the country in government, military and civil operations.

Europe's electronics giant Selex Galileo this month said it was plumbing the Indian market with a joint venture with India's Data Patterns Group.

"This joint venture will bring a technology value to India's growing defense program," said S Rangarajan, Data Patterns chief executive officer. "Selex Galileo is a leading global player and we are happy and proud to form a joint venture with them.

"This synergy will strengthen our capabilities to address our (India's ) defense requirements with today's technology solutions."

Altran said it is looking at niche sector Indian companies to acquire and build its workforce of high-technology experts in the country to 2,000 employees. It also noted its main global accounts are already engaged within India.

"In India, aerospace engineering is growing," said Sanjay Kumar, chief executive officer of Altran India. "Going forward, there will be greater emphasis on technology-driven ventures as the Offset Clause (a requirement by the government for technology exchange) gains momentum.

"We already have the capabilities to convert such deals into a win-win situation. We are working with some of the top European aerospace companies in India. Our objective is to ensure that we serve both Indian as well as international partners from this geography."

Altran last October announced its growth strategy: develop its business in Asia; give priority to six European countries through organic growth and acquisitions; and expand globally on embedded and critical systems and product lifecycle management.

"We have such exciting technologies from our global R&D teams," Sanjay said. "I am sure that Altran and the Indian Aerospace industry will forge a symbiotic relationship in the coming days in order to revolutionize the way innovative products are being developed."

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Japan, India discuss defense cooperation
New Delhi (UPI) Apr 27, 2012 - Defense cooperation will be a priority during Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba's visit to India.

Gemba is to arrive in New Delhi Sunday accompanied by a high-profile delegation that includes several other Cabinet ministers and senior officials.

Japan's defense concerns have been shifting. Issues rising in importance for Tokyo include the status of neighboring North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program and China's rising maritime military presence in East Asia.

That was exemplified by China's recent sea trials of its first aircraft carrier, the refurbished Soviet navy Varyag. The vessel, an unfinished Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, was purchased from Ukraine in 1998 and towed to China, where the vessel underwent a massive refurbishment.

Japan has unresolved territorial issues with both China and Russia.

Tokyo is contesting with Beijing the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands of the Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) archipelago. To the north Tokyo is also in contention with the Russian Federation over the status of four islands of the Kurils.

India has territorial issues with China as well, having fought a brief but violent conflict with China in 1962 over disputed borders in the Himalayas.

A symbol of the growing defense ties between India and Japan, in June the Japanese and Indian navies have their annual bilateral naval exercises and, beginning next year, Japanese naval units will participate in the Malabar naval exercises along with U.S. and Indian navies off Okinawa, in their fifth year of participation.

In 2007 China objected to the maritime maneuvers but Gemba's visit indicates Tokyo's growing comfort with the Indian defense forces, as well as increased strategic convergence, the Indian Times News Network news agency reported Friday.

Heightening the changing strategic picture in the Western Pacific, Tokyo recently accomplished one of its strategic goals to reduce the U.S. Marines presence on Okinawa.

The Pentagon had agreed to shift 9,000 Marines from the island to Guam. Under the new agreement, about 10,000 Marines will remain on Okinawa.

Gemba said Japan wanted to "reduce the burden on Okinawa," adding, "I think we have made some progress and this plan offers specific and forward-looking action."

Complicating the picture, Japan's pacifist constitution's Article 9 prohibits Japan from maintaining a military and for settling disputes through force, labeling Japan's military as a "self defense force," with soldiers, sailors and airmen as "members." Accordingly, military cooperation initiatives are treated carefully in Tokyo.


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Dassault reports 47% jump in Q1 sales
Paris (AFP) April 26, 2012
The French group Dassault Aviation reported Thursday a 47 percent jump in 2012 first quarter sales to 950 million euros ($1.25 billion) owing to strong results from its business aviation division. Falcon jet sales were up by 66 percent at 644 million euros, the company said in a statement. It delivered 15 new business jets during the first quarter, compared with nine during the same peri ... read more

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