We are looking at IP generation for Indian market: Rolls-Royce's India president Kishore Jayaraman

For the first time in 13 years since Airbus A330 planes exited Jet Airways fleet in around 2010, an Indian wide-body aircraft will have a Rolls-Royce-powered engine, with Air India ordering 40 Airbus A350 planes. The aircraft, which will come in two variants, will be powered solely by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. This order will help Rolls-Royce increase its presence in forging partnerships in India, Kishore Jayaraman, India and South Asia region president of Rolls-Royce, told ET in an interview. Edited excerpts:

This is Rolls-Royce’s re-entry in the Indian civil aviation market after a long period. What took so long?
Airlines look for flight plans, flight routes, and they try to figure out which one is the best engine for their operational needs. These things are not done overnight. There is a relationship and competency that we build to work with the customer. I have been working with the Tatas personally over the last 15 years in India and Africa.

In my 10 years with Rolls Royce, we have done many initiatives with TCS and Tata Advanced Systems. Currently, almost 300 parts of the Trent XWB engine (used in A350 aircraft) are being manufactured by Tata Advanced Systems. It is an honourable thing for us to partner with Air India because the first aircraft that flew with the Rolls Royce engine in India in 1932 was with Tata Airlines (which later became Air India). We are just not going to be a supplier of an engine, but a partner of Air India for the lifecycle of the engine.

Making in India is the focus of the government. How is Rolls-Royce looking at that initiative?
We believe that India has a value proposition to offer. How can we co-create in India? Rolls-Royce is talking about creation of IP (intellectual property) in India. We have been in India before Air India order, and believe that India is the future for the globe as a powerhouse.

Local manufacturing will not be achieved by assembling; that will not be achieved by just making in India or technology transfer. That will only be achieved through co-creation and IP generation in India.

For which product are you looking at IP generation in India?
We are looking at the advanced medium combat aircraft engine for the Indian Air Force and we are working with the Indian and UK ministry of defence to figure out how to take this forward.

When the Airbus order was being announced, the Tata Group chairman had said this will usher in a local manufacturing of civil aircraft in India. What do you think about that?
We believe that is a very realisable dream in the shortest possible time. There is a lot of interest in that and there is a lot of capability that has been built in India… And so, I think, it is a very realisable dream that has brought to the fore.