'Lots to be done to make India defence manufacturing hub'
Thursday - January 16, 2020 6:21 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Acknowledging increasing participation of the private sector in defence production, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday stressed that a lot still needs to be done to make India a global weapons manufacturing hub.Singh called for active participation of the private sector in defence manufacturing, reaffirming the government's commitment to make India a weapons manufacturing hub and net defence exporter."Our government is open to new ideas and is determined to use the energy, entrepreneurial spirit and enterprise of the private industry in the defence sector," Singh said while flagging off K9 Vajra-T gun from the Larsen and Toubro (L&T) Armoured System Complex at Hazira in Gujarat.The defence ministry has received 51 of the 100 orders it received for K9 Vajra ahead of schedule.Singh assured that the government will make all efforts to remove any roadblocks and work together to achieve the goal of indigenisation and self-reliance in defence sector.The minister also listed out various far reaching reforms introduced by the government under the 'Make in India' initiative to achieve $26 billion defence industry by 2025 and provide employment to 2-3 million people."We wish to create an ecosystem that provides a platform to both public sector and private sector to work together and contribute to nation building through their strengths and experiences," he added.Some of the reforms highlighted by Singh include setting up of defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; simplification of industry licencing process; increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap and steps to promote defence exports; streamlining of defence offsets policy and establishing Defence Investor Cell.Singh also pointed that the government has provided trial and testing facility to the private sector and schemes for startups and small and medium enterprises to promote innovation.He also mentioned that the Strategic Partnership (SP) model has been introduced in the Defence Production Policy under which private sector will be able to manufacture fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines and armoured vehicles and emerge as global giants.Singh expressed satisfaction on his visit to the Armoured System Complex, saying that the facility is a strong example of 'Naye Bharat ki Nayi Soch'.He added that the goal of modernisation and indigenisation in defence under 'Make in India', conceptualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has started to take shape.Singh termed the K9 VAJRA-T Gun as the best example of 'Make in India' in defence."I have been told that more than 75 per cent of K9 Vajra has been manufactured in India. Over 5,000 people have got direct employment and more than 12,500 indirect employment through this complex. It is a matter of great pride," he said.