Focus should be on making India one of the largest defence exporters, the Prime Minister said

Addressing the webinar on effective implementation of the Union Budget provisions in the defence sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said India is committed to enhance its defence manufacturing capabilities at a fast pace.

His government has relied on the capabilities of Indian engineers and scientists on developing the Tejas fighter aircraft and today, Tejas is flying gracefully in the skies. “A few weeks back, an order worth Rs. 48,000 crore was placed for Tejas,” he informed participants during the webinar.

He said there used to be hundreds of ordnance factories before independence and during the world wars, weapons at large scale were exported from India. “But, for many reasons, this system has not been strengthened as much as it should have been after independence,” the Prime Minister added.

Since 2014, Prime Minister Modi said, it has been the government’s endeavor to move forward in this sector with transparency, predictability and ease of doing business. “The government has taken steps to bring about de-licensing, de-regulation, export promotion, foreign investment liberalization,” he said.

The Prime Minister further said India has made a list of 100 important items related to defence, which can be manufactured indigenously with the help of our local industries.

He said a timeline has been set so that Indian industries can plan to meet these requirements. He said it is called a negative list in the official language but it is a positive list in the language of self-reliance.

This is the positive list on which the country’s manufacturing capacity is going to increase. This is the positive list that will generate employment in India.

“This is the positive list that is going to reduce India’s dependence on foreign countries for our defence needs. This is the positive list that guarantees the sale of indigenous products in India,” the Prime Minister said, adding that a part has been reserved for domestic procurement even in the capital budget of defence.

He urged the private sector to come forward and take up both designing and manufacturing of the defence equipment so that Indian flag can be kept flying high on the global stage.

The Prime Minister said MSMEs work as a backbone for the entire manufacturing sector. The reforms that are taking place today are giving more freedom to MSMEs and encouragement to expand.

The Prime Minister said that the defence corridors that are being built in the country today will also help local entrepreneurs and local manufacturing. “Today, self-sufficiency in our defence sector has to be seen as the empowerment of these two fronts – “Jawan as well as Youth,” Prime Minister Modi maintained.