Observing that countries around the world were now focusing on the modernisation of their militaries in view of emerging security concerns, border disputes and maritime dominance, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today declared that India was fully capable of meeting the needs of other countries for defence equipment.
The government has created an atmosphere of jointness to ensure modernisation of the armed forces in the rapidly evolving global security scenario, he said during his address at Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) Annual General Meeting in New Delhi.
“India is capable of meeting the needs (of other nations) through a cost-effective and quality approach. By India, we mean public sector, private sector, academia, research and development. We believe in taking them all onboard together,” the minister said.
He emphasised that the Indian defence industry was home to manufacturers who could create a perfect blend of state-of-the-art, high quality and cost-effective hardware which would not only bolster national security but make India a net defence exporter. He reiterated the government’s resolve of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for the world’ through past learning, present works, with focus on empowering the future.
Underlining the importance of indigenisation, Rajnath listed out a number of reforms undertaken by the government to encourage the participation of the private sector and achieve ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said the government was providing a suitable growth environment to the private sector. “We have opened up opportunities to build a Mega Defence Programme, including fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks and submarines through a strategic partnership model that will help our private companies become global giants in the years to come. The recent contract of 56 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force is one such example,” he said.
Due to these steps, defence exports have crossed Rs 38,000 crore-mark in the last seven years; more than 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have joined the defence sector and there has been an increase in research & development, start-ups, innovation and employment.
Terming sustainability as an integral part of self-reliance, Rajnath urged the industry to also focus on emerging areas such as cyberspace & Artificial Intelligence by investing in R&D, developing new technologies and products and taking advantage of the government’s policies. He called upon the private players to utilise the country’s talent to achieve this objective.
Saying that the concept of ‘Make in India and Make for the World’ has been a part of Indian civilisational ethos, the minister exhorted the industry to keep moving forward and help the government realise its vision of making India a global manufacturing hub. He expressed confidence that like the White Revolution & Green Revolution, this public-private partnership will be mentioned as Defence Production Revolution in the annals of Indian defence in the times to come.