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India Must Focus On Boosting Production Of Military Equipment: Rajnath

Union defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said the allocated fund for domestic procurement in defence modernisation has risen to 64.09%.

“The Centre has taken several steps to fulfil the requirements of our private investment and global demands by creating sustainable and long-term linkages,” Rajnath Singh was quoted as saying.

Singh was addressing the annual general meeting of the Society of India Defence Manufacturing (SIDM). “A compendium has been launched to highlight the efforts of all companies. Their efforts are a big contribution to India’s goal of self-reliance,” he said.

The defence minister said the SIDM has set up its first sub-state office in Lucknow for its expansion process. “It’s an important step to promote investment in UP Expressway Industrial Development and UP Defence Corridor. It reflects your vision, approach and quality of patience, Singh further said.

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Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh urged private sector defence companies to invest in research and development, especially in technologies relating to cyberspace. He said the rapid changes in the global security scenario are expected to increase demand for military equipment and the Indian industry must focus on boosting production.

Singh said the Indian defence industry should take advantage of the policy reforms initiated by the Centre in the past few years to ramp up domestic defence manufacturing. “You are all aware that the global situation is changing very rapidly. There is no region in the world today that has not been affected by these changes,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

“Its impact can be seen on trade, economy, communication, political equation and military power,” Singh said, adding these changes are set to spur demand for military equipment.

In this context, he urged the private sector to invest in research and development with a special focus on cyberspace.

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“We are providing a suitable growth environment to the private sector. Accordingly, we have opened up opportunities to build fighter jets, helicopters, submarines and tanks in India through the strategic partnership model,” Singh said.

The government has initiated a series of measures in the last couple of years to encourage the domestic defence industry. In August last year, Singh announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.

A second negative list, putting import restrictions on 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars, was issued recently.

In May last year, the government announced increasing the FDI limit from 49% to 74% under the automatic route in the defence sector. The government has been focusing on reducing dependence on imported military platforms and has decided to support domestic defence manufacturing.

The defence ministry has set a goal of a turnover of $25 billion ( ₹1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing by 2025 that included an export target of $5 billion ( ₹35,000 crores) worth of military hardware.

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Rajesh Negi

Defence & Sports Enthusiast

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