October 3, 2022

‘Armed Forces modernisation, creating ‘Aatmanirbhar’ defence industry to deal with various security threats is our focus’

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spelt out broad contours of Government’s vision of ‘India beyond 75’ at FICCI Annual General Meeting

The aim is to make India a global defence manufacturing hub

Focusses on ‘Make in India, Make for India and Make for the world’

New Delhi, Defence Minister Rajnath 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 was addressing the 94th Annual General Meeting of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) on the theme ‘India Beyond 75’ in New Delhi on December 18.

Underscoring the importance of achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence, Rajnath Singh said India cannot depend on other countries for defence technologies due to its stature, its geographical location as well as the security challenges it faces. “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,” 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”

-Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

The Defence Minister asserted 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 priority”.

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’.

Rajnath Singh listed out measures taken by the Government to promote foreign investment, including increasing the Foreign Direct Investment (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 to 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 ‘Positive List’ will cross the 1,000-mark in this decade. This is our vision of ‘India Beyond 75’,” he said.

“The items in ‘Positive List’ will cross the 1,000-mark in this decade. This is our vision of ‘India Beyond 75”

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 Defence Minister 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 and made special mention of the order of 10 lakh Multi-Mode Hand Grenades given to Economic Explosives Limited (EEL) following Transfer of Technology from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the first batch of which has already been handed over to the Indian Army.

Voicing the Government’s aim to tap the potential of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and ensure their progress, Rajnath Singh said a series of steps have been taken to encourage indigenisation, development and design in the defence and aerospace sector.

“At present, India’s defence and aerospace manufacturing market is worth Rs. 85,000 crore. I believe in 2022, it will increase to Rs. one lakh crore. When I talk about ‘India Beyond 75’, I see defence and aerospace manufacturing market in India to be Rs. five lakh crore by 2047. The present contribution of private companies is Rs. 18,000 crore in the market of Rs. 85,000 crore. According to the current situation, more than Rs. one lakh crore will be the contribution of the private sector in the market Rs. five lakh crore in the future,” he said.

“At present, India’s defence and aerospace manufacturing market is worth Rs. 85,000 crore. I believe in 2022, it will increase to Rs. one lakh crore. When I talk about ‘India Beyond 75’, I see defence and aerospace manufacturing market in India to be Rs. five lakh crore by 2047. The present contribution of private companies is Rs. 18,000 crore in the market of Rs. 85,000 crore. According to the current situation, more than Rs. one lakh crore will be the contribution of the private sector in the market Rs. five lakh crore in the future”

On the Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative, the Defence Minister stated that while it is solving the technical problems of the Armed Forces, it has identified many technologies such as military security systems, secure hardware encryption devices, unmanned surface and underwater vehicles, 4G/LTE strategic local area networks, radar, artificial intelligence-based image analysis satellites.

Stressing that the future wars will be fought in the digital war zone inter-connected through Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality (AR&VR), he urged the educational institutions to focus on specialised courses in defence technologies to meet the demand of professionals who can covert the future challenges into opportunities and bolster the security framework of the country. He called upon FICCI to play an important role in the collective efforts to take India to newer heights.

To realise its vision of making India a global manufacturing hub, Rajnath Singh said the Government has taken several measures, including increase the defence capital outlay by 18.75 per cent in the last budget. He added that “64 per cent of our total capital outlay, which is about Rs. 70,221 crore, has been reserved for domestic procurement.” He appreciated the fact that the country’s defence exports have grown by 325 per cent in the last five years and exuded confidence that India will not only achieve its export target of Rs. 35,000 crore by 2024-2025 but will also become a net exporter of defence equipment. The private sector accounts for 95 per cent of the country’s defence exports, he said.

The Defence Minister lauded the industry for their contribution to the Government’s efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Work was done on a war footing to meet the huge demand of PPE kits, ventilators, masks and sanitisers across the country. In addition, in a country where there was always a delay in vaccination, we took the pledge at the very beginning. As a result, today 55 per cent of India’s population has been vaccinated. The work, which earlier governments did in years, our government did it within days,” he said.

“Work was done on a war footing to meet the huge demand of PPE kits, ventilators, masks and sanitisers across the country. In addition, in a country where there was always a delay in vaccination, we took the pledge at the very beginning. As a result, today 55 per cent of India’s population has been vaccinated. The work, which earlier governments did in years, our government did it within days”

Rajnath Singh concluded his address by extending his best wishes to Sanjiv Mehta who took over as the Chairman of FICCI in place of Uday Shankar. He hoped that the industry and organisations like FICCI will help in making India the world’s leading exporter of defence equipment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow us on Social Media