New Delhi, Dec 18 : India cannot depend on other countries for defence technologies due to its stature, its geographical location as well as the security challenges it faces, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh underscoring the importance of achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta‘ (Self Reliant India) in defence.
Addressing the 94th Annual General Meeting of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), on the theme ‘India Beyond 75’ in New Delhi, Singh voiced the government’s vision to make India a global defence manufacturing hub in the coming times, stressing that the focus is to modernise the Armed forces and create a strong and ‘Aatmanirbhar’ defence industry which can help in safeguarding the country from conventional and non-conventional, present and future security threats.
He said: “For the security of India and its people, it is necessary that we develop our defence capacity and capability that even the most powerful country in the world has to think a thousand times before planning anything that endangers our interests. Our government’s aim is not to attack anyone, but prepare our Armed Forces to be ready at all times to give a befitting reply to the country’s enemies.”
Without naming China and Pakistan, the minister highlighted the threats from both the neighbouring countries. Singh said that, on one side, there is one country born out of the partition and is worried seeing the progress of India, while on the other, there is a nation which keeps on creating new plans.
He highlighted the recent visits of Defence Ministers of US, Russia and France, and said: “countries across the world have friendly relations with us and we have told them that we wish to manufacture defence equipment in India as national security is our top prioritya.”
He also mentioned about the recent agreement with Russia, worth more than Rs 5,000 crore, to manufacture over six lakh AK-203 rifles in Amethi, inviting every country to ‘Make in India, Make for India and Make for the world’.
Singh listed out measures taken by the government to promote foreign investment, including increasing the FDI limit to 74 per cent through automatic route and 100 per cent through government route under certain circumstances.
He said foreign investment will help create an ecosystem of defence manufacturing in the country and achieve ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also spoke about the initiatives taken by the Government to reduce dependency on imports, such as notifying two positive indigenisation lists of over 200 items.
“The items in aPositive List’ will cross the 1,000-mark in this decade. This is our vision of aIndia Beyond 75′,” he said.
Saying that the defence sector has been able to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 due to policy reforms brought out by the government, the Raksha Mantri exhorted the private sector to take advantage of the policies and contribute towards nation building.
He said, the decision to corporatise Ordnance Factory Board was taken in order to provide fair competition between public and private entities in the defence sector and bring efficiency in government companies.
He appreciated the industry for working with the Government to achieve self-reliance.
He made special mention of the order of 10 lakh Multi-Mode Hand Grenades given to Economic Explosives Limited following Transfer of Technology from Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO); the first batch of which has already been handed over to the Indian Army.