Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is optimistic that companies in the Canadian defence and aerospace sectors can do more business with India, which has one of the largest standing military forces in the world.

Just back in Ottawa from a visit led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other members of cabinet, the Indian-born Sikh and Canadian Armed Forces veteran told reporters on Parliament Hill Feb. 28 that his section of the visit included time at the Defence Research and Development Organization. Headquartered in New Delhi, the DRDO is a network of 52 military laboratories with which the minister is hoping for an expanded relationship.

He also visited CAE India Private Ltd. in Bangaluru (Bangalore), where Montreal-based CAE Ltd. builds helicopter simulators, a field he also is looking to “further advance” as part of a Canadian push to heighten India’s awareness of other defence technologies.

“We have learned that there is a great need . . . within the Indian defence relationship, but they don't fully understand the great innovation we actually have in Canada,” he said. “So we're actually working on building that relationship better.”

The Bengaluru facility has provided what CAE describes as “leading edge solutions to India’s defence forces for more than two decades.” A joint venture with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. offers training on Bell 412s, Airbus Helicopters Dauphins and HAL-built Dhruvs. The Dhruv is a utility helicopter designed in cooperation with Germany’s MBB, which now is part of the Airbus group.