Aerospace giant Boeing invites Modi to visit its largest factory

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 31, 2015 07:12 IST

US aerospace giant Boeing has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit its largest factory in Seattle, Washington, en route to his meeting with the Indian diaspora in San Francisco and Silicon Valley on September 26.

Modi will travel to the US West Coast after addressing a UN Summit to adopt post-2015 sustainable development agenda on September 25. He returns to New York to meet President Barack Obama on September 27.

“We understand that you are planning to travel to the West Coast during the upcoming visit in September. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to our Seattle manufacturing facility, the biggest in the world,” wrote James McNerney, the Boeing chairperson, in a July 20 letter to the Prime Minister sent through diplomatic channels.

“In Seattle, we manufacture the world’s most advanced commercial aviation airplanes including the head of state airplane for India and the state of the art maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I,” the letter said.

The PMO has yet to take a call on Modi’s visit to Boeing’s biggest airplane factory at Everett near Seattle, a two-and-a-half-hour flight from San Francisco.

The world’s largest aerospace company is keen to host him after the Prime Minister visited the Toulouse plant of arch rival Airbus on April 11 during his visit to France this year.

Boeing is expected to bag a $3 billion contract for supplies of Chinook transport and Apache attack helicopters to India and the country’s air force is interested in buying at least two more C-17 heavy-lift aircraft from its US counterparts.

This July, Boeing announced a partnership with Tata to manufacture advanced aero structures and aerial systems, including drones such as the long endurance Integrator UAV.

“We launched the second year of skilling for aerospace manufacturing in India and plan to significantly scale it up in partnership with the National Skills Development Corporation and ministry of defence,” the Boeing chairman wrote in his letter.

McNerney requested Modi to visit Seattle to have a first-hand experience on how a “world class aerospace manufacturing facility looks like”.

This was in line with the Prime Minister’s push to make India the hub of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul as well as provide future aerospace workforce by imparting skills.

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