Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday addressed local defence and allied industrialists, MSMEs and other stakeholders at a special conclave in Tiruchirappalli, who will be a part of the Tamil Nadu Defence Corridor

The manufacturing ecosystem in the state is aimed at boosting defence production in the country. The purpose, Sitharaman had said in a Tweet, is to “create synergy and further strengthen” the ecosystem.

Addressing the event, the Defence Minister said that her government encourages “emerging private sector companies to tie up with PSUs to manufacture world class equipment”.

The corridor will connect five major cities in the southern state and boost defence production through comprehensive and coordinated efforts of manufacturers, including small manufacturers.

Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tiruchirappalli and Coimbatore are the cities which form part of the corridor. The government is looking at bringing together the individual manufacturing abilities in each of the cities to boost indigenous defence production under the ambitious Make in India project.

Chennai, which will host the Defexpo 2018, has over 200 vendors of Heavy Vehicles Factory located in Avadi and manufactures the Arjun main battle tank. The city also has over 550 vendors of Bengaluru-headquartered defence maker Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Similarly, the other four cities in the state are also hubs of manufacturing facilities in auto, electronics, power and steel.

Hosur is known for automobile manufacturing while Tiruchirappalli has over 2500 fabrication and engineering units (MSMEs) besides BHEL and Ordinance Factory Trichy, which manufactures the INSAS assault rifle.

The government aims to tap into the rich mineral deposits in Salem and the steel manufacturing capability to strengthen the corridor.

Sitharaman also said that a new defence innovation centre for MSMEs has been proposed for Coimbatore, which has four Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

Major meets and expos have been held in all five cities since 26 February. Chennai will host the DefExpo 2018 from 11-14 April.