New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today exhorted Defence manufacturing companies to become part of ‘Make in India’, reaffirming the Government’s commitment to achieving a US$26 billion Defence industry by 2025. Singh was speaking at a business seminar ‘India Rising’, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce at the Defence & Security Exhibition 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. He said the Defence sector has been given prominence under the ‘Make in India’ initiative to reduce dependence on imports and make India a major Defence manufacturing hub and net exporter of Defence equipment and platforms.
Singh said the Government has set a target of taking India’s Defence exports to US$5 billion by 2025 under the ‘Draft Defence Production Policy 2018’. “On one hand this target is ambitious, but at the same time it is encouraging that India’s Defence exports have grown almost six-fold in the last two years,” he added.
Singh said investments worth US$10 billion in aerospace and Defence goods & services are expected by 2025 which could provide employment to 2-3 million people.
Singh listed out various initiatives taken by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that led to a rapid increase in exports. These include simplification of procedures for exports, simplification of industry licensing processes, increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap, streamlining of Defence offset policy, and making government trial and testing facilities available to the private sector.
He added that the ‘Defence Procurement Procedure’ was revised in 2016 to encourage the domestic Defence industry. A new category ‘Buy Indian – IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)’ was introduced to promote indigenous design and development of Defence equipment.
“The government’s desire to establish two Defence corridors in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh is clear. A Defence Innovation Hub is already functioning in Coimbatore. A Defence Planning Committee has also been formed. In this regard, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has planned to build a Defence manufacturing corridor along with the proposed Bundelkhand Expressway which will help in making India self-reliant in the field of Defence production,” Singh added.
Singh also highlighted that the Government has undertaken far-reaching reforms in the last five years to increase synergy between the public and private sectors. It has contributed positively in Defence production and procurement. He said work is on to introduce a common testing and certification scheme under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to create an enabling environment.
Singh voiced the Government’s resolve to promote self-reliance in Defence through five I’s (Identification, Incubation, Innovation, Integration and Indigenisation). He said the MoD has set a target to fund 250 startups, 16 personal initiatives and five Defence Innovation Hubs through the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) in the next five years. He hoped that at least 50 technological designs would be made to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. A Defence Innovation Fund is also being prepared to support government participation through equity investment in Defence startups.
“A new Transfer of Technology (ToT) policy is being created to simplify the way of transferring technology developed by DRDO to the industry. So far, more than 900 ToT licensing agreements have been signed with industries which is a major step towards making the Defence manufacturing sector self-sufficient,” Singh added.
The Defence Minister invited domestic and overseas investors to actively participate in the forthcoming DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5-8, 2020.
In Bangkok, Singh also attended the 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), where he held bilateral meets with Defence Officials of Japan, Thailand, Australia, NZ at ADMM-Plus.
Singh also met with the US Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper. Both leaders expressed satisfaction over increasing engagements between the two countries and looked forward to the 2+2 meeting in Washington DC next month. Rajnath also discussed the regional security situation and shared with Esper India’s vision and perspective on the Indo-Pacific.
Singh had also earlier awarded Rs 3 crore to two startups, saying innovation is key to self-reliance in the Defence sector.
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