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Rakshan Mantri Rajnath Singh today spelled out plans to strengthen India’s Defence sector and sent a strong message to enemy neighbors China and Pakistan for making unfortunate attempts to employ force to change the status quo along its unresolved borders.

Rajnath said India has long witnessed unfortunate attempts to employ force to change status quo along its unresolved borders, but is vigilant and prepared to counter and defeat any misadventure to defend people and territorial integrity at all costs.

India also faces threats and challenges emanating from multiple fronts and is a victim of state-sponsored and state-inflicted terrorism, which is a global threat, he said in his inaugural address at Aero India 2021 Show in Bengaluru.

He also said India has a vast coastline, but its interests also lie beyond its shores which includes Indian citizens who reside and work across continents, especially in IOR.

” It is our bounden duty to remain capable and willing to assist them in times of natural calamities and security challenges,” the Raksha Mantri stated.

Rajnath believed that Aero India 2021 will boost investment, expand manufacturing ecosystem, support enterprises, appreciate and enhance the technology levels and propel the economic growth for the country.

Boosting Defence Exports

To achieve the twin goals of self-reliance and exports, Rajnath said India has a set a target to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000 crore, including export of Rs. 35,000 crore in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by the year 2024.

“Our vision is to make India one of the biggest countries of the world in the Defence sector, from design to production, with the active participation of public and private sector,” he said.

India has the potential to become a reliable supplier of defence equipment to many of its friendly nations, Rajnath said. “We have a strong and diversified Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise sector with more than active 5000 units in this sector,” he added.

A high-level committee has been constituted, which would authorise exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries, leading to faster approvals for their export, the Raksha Mantri said.

Rajnath also said, with focused attention being laid on promotion of exports of Indian defence products, India is steadily marching from ‘Make in India’ towards ‘Make for the World’.

Rajnath expressed his happiness over HAL getting the orders for the development of 83 new indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – Tejas MK1A from Indian Air Force valued at more than Rs 48000 crore.

“It is probably the biggest “Make in India” Defence contract till date. I invite the business leaders from across the globe in this field to take advantage of the various initiatives of Government of India and set-up manufacturing units in our country,” he said.

FDI In Defence Sector

Rajnath said the Indian Government has enhanced FDI in Defence Sector up to 74 per cent, through the Automatic Route and 100 per cent through the government route, which would act as a catalyst for foreign players to invest in India.

“Since 2014, the Government of India has brought in many reforms in the defence sector to create a conducive ecosystem for exports, Foreign Direct Investment and offset discharge,” he added.

The sector has been further opened for foreign sector participation and India is encouraging foreign OEMs to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries or enter into strategic partnerships with the Indian companies, the Raksha Mantri said.

“We have taken many steps to strengthen our security apparatus recently. Domestic manufacturing of bigger and complex defence platforms has now become the focus of our policy under the “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”. We plan to spend 130 Billion Dollar on military modernization,” he said.

India A Huge Market For Defence Investments

India is one of the fastest-growing civil aviation markets in the world, and with rising passenger and cargo traffic, demand for aircraft and the related supply chains is increasing, Rajnath said.

“India, therefore, holds a huge potential for investments in the aerospace sector, particularly in the manufacturing of aero engines and sub-assemblies as well as in Maintenance Repair & Overhaul, of Aircraft,” he said.

Talking about the success of reforms like the ease in doing business, Rajnath said India has recorded a jump of 14 positions against its rank of 77 in 2019 to be placed now at 63rd rank among 190 countries assessed by the World Bank.

Over the years, the Government of India has facilitated the establishment of wide-ranging production facilities, of various defence equipment through Defence Public Sector Undertakings and Ordnance Factories, he said.

He also said the newly introduced (Buy Global – Manufacture in India) category of capital procurement in DAP 2020 allows the outright purchase of equipment from foreign vendors, followed by indigenous manufacture through its subsidiary in India or through a Joint Venture or through an Indian Agency.

India today offers a unique opportunity in defence and aerospace manufacturing, Rajnath said adding that this opportunity comes as a “Sangam” of rising demand, greater innovation, conducive policies and maturing ecosystem in defence and aerospace manufacturing sector.

He expressed a deep sense of gratitude to the Defence Ministers from Maldives, Ukraine, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Comoros and Madagascar who joined the show in person, and many others who are joining virtually.

Rajnath said Aero India 21 will display the vast potential of India, and the multifarious opportunities that the country offers in the field of defence and aerospace sector. 

“It also promises to be the World’s First-Ever Hybrid Aero & Defence exhibition,” he added.

The year 2020 has been a challenging year for the entire world and has adversely impacted the lives, livelihood, industrial growth, and economy of many countries, but despite the constraints caused by the global pandemic, he expressed pleasure to see a large number of participants in this year’s event, Rajnath said.

“India has endeavoured to bring out, not one but two indigenous vaccines and started the largest vaccine drive to inoculate 270 million people. Our concern extends to people across boundaries, under which India offers more than 20 million doses to friendly countries,” he said.

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