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Air India takes 'Western Alliance' to new heights

By Sigurd Neubauer


It’s a big deal.

The rise of India will inevitably impact strategic competition between the United States and China, which is why Air India’s recent announcement that it will buy 470 planes from Airbus and Boeing is of utmost geopolitical significance. 

The agreement, which is the largest in civil aviation history, was welcomed by U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

For his part, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it as a “landmark agreement.”

Airbus will deliver 210 of its narrow-body A320 family, and 40 of its A350 wide-body aircraft, according to the Toulouse-based manufacturer. “The order aims to both modernize and expand the airline’s fleet with the objective of creating a larger and premium full-service carrier that will cater to the growing travel demand in the region. Deliveries are set to commence with the first A350-900 arriving by late-2023,” the company added in a statement.

For its part, Boeing will provide 190 of its narrow-body 737 Max jets, plus 20 of its 787 Dreamliner and 10 777 wide-body planes. A comprehensive service agreement was also reached which will include support for the Air India fleet for decades to come.

Air India is owned by the Tata Group.

Air India’s agreement with Boeing is expected to create more than 1 million jobs in the U.S. 

Under Modi’s leadership, India has not only emerged into the world’s fourth largest economy, but he’s also reformed the country’s regulatory environment including by opening up its strategic sectors to foreign investments

New Delhi’s rise as a global power is also turbo charged by the large and well-educated Indian diaspora communities in the U.S., the UK, Australia, and Canada, among other countries. 

That British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. presidential contender Nikki Haley are of Indian descent illustrate the growing influence of the Indian diaspora across much of the Western world. 

Their success is not limited to the highest echelons of public life, but the Indian diaspora is well represented across all sectors of the economy as well.  

During the height of the British Empire, India was widely referred to as its ‘Crown Jewel.’

Indians have been educated within the British system for centuries while maintaining their culture with an emphasis on respect for tradition, family, discipline, self-determination, and personal responsibility. Their adoption of Western values along with a private sector economy serve as important factors explaining why Indians have become so successful.

Air India’s agreements with Airbus and Boeing represent a beautiful tribute to a historic friendship spanning centuries between India and the West. 

Its dividends are blossoming at a time of global strategic competition between the U.S. and China.

While Indians have been educated within the British system for centuries, their embrace of Western values have contributed to their enormous success
Air India selects Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo credit: The Boeing Company
The Air India agreements with Airbus and Boeing represent a beautiful tribute to a historic friendship between India and the West

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