New Delhi: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that India has very clearly conveyed to the US, Russia, France and several other partner countries that military platforms and equipment required by the Indian armed forces for dealing with security challenges have to be manufactured in the country.
God has given India some neighbors who do not feel good seeing its growth and that the one born out of the partition is becoming weak worrying about India’s development, the Defense Minister commented while referring to regional geopolitical developments, as reported by news agency PTI.
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Rajnath Singh on Saturday addressed the annual convention of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) where he said that most of the countries in the world are friends of India, including the US, Russia and France.
He further stated that India had, at the same time, made it clear to them that the military hardware required by the Indian armed forces will have to be produced in the country.
“We have told every friendly country that we want to produce the military platforms, weapons and ammunition in India itself keeping in mind the security of the country,” he said.
“We have conveyed this message to the US, Russia, France and others as well and we do not hesitate to communicate this message,” he added, as quoted by PTI.
As per him, the message to the countries producing military equipment has been: “Come, Make In India, Come, Make for India and Come, Make for the world”.
The Defense Minister revealed that after his annual defense dialogue with French Defense Minister Florence Parly on Friday, it was agreed that a major French company will produce “an engine” in India by joining hands with an Indian company under the strategic partnership model.
He stressed that India will maintain friendship with these countries but will not hesitate to push for the production of key platforms on Indian soil at the same time.
“We will maintain the friendship but at the same time make it clear that whatever military equipment, weapons and ammunition are needed to be produced in India,” Rajnath Singh said, adding that: “I tell it very clearly and with confidence. And you will be happy to know that I get a positive response from them”.
He also talked about the union government’s decision to not import 209 military equipment under a staggered timeline to promote the domestic defense industry, indicating that the items under the list may touch 1,000.
“When I talk about ‘India Beyond 75’, I believe that this ‘positive list’ will be around 1000 items in this decade. I am very positive about this,” he said.
The Defense Minister also emphasized the need for “fair competition” between private and public sector companies while he described the corporatisation of the over 200-year-old Ordnance Factory Board as the biggest reform in the defense sector after Independence.
“At present, India’s defense and aerospace manufacturing market is worth Rs 85,000 crores. I believe it will increase to one lakh crore in 2022,” he mentioned.
It was also noted that the government has initiated a series of measures in the past few years to encourage the domestic defense industry.
In August 2020, Rajnath 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 few months later, a second 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.
In May last year, the Center announced increasing the FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route in defense sector.
(With Agency Inputs)
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