Rajnath Singh also called upon industry leaders to focus on transfer of technology through joint ventures

Inviting US companies to invest in India, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that the initiatives taken by the government have transformed the country into a strong and reliable investment destination.

There is a lot of scope for the American and Indian defence Industries for co-production and co-development, he said on Wednesday.

He was delivering the inaugural address at the 18th India-US Economic Summit, on the theme ‘Bouncing Back – Resilient Recovery Path Post COVID-19’ organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Expressing confidence that American firms will find India as a major investment destination for defence manufacturing, the Defence Minister assured the Industry that the government is open for new ideas to create a business-friendly environment in India.

It is also committed to push all types of entrepreneurship and manufacturing in the defence sector, he said.

He used the occasion to call upon industry leaders to focus on transfer of technology through joint ventures to realise India's true potential in the defence sector.

The foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can set up manufacturing facilities individually or partner with Indian companies through a JV or technology agreement to capitalise on the ‘Make in India’ initiative, he added.

Singh exhorted them to begin the process of Research and Development with the young minds of the country which will increase the linkages among the industries and create an ecosystem through equal contribution from academia and research.

During his address, the Defence Minister also referred to the role of the robust domestic demand and availability of talented young work force & innovation in making India a major investment destination.

The summit has been organised keeping in view the important role India & US can play in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

Referring to the strong bilateral ties between India and the US, he mentioned the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, 2+2 Dialogue, Quad Security Dialogue and agreements like Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).

He, however, emphasised that the relations are yet to receive its full potential.

Defence Minister Singh pointed out that several progressive policies have been put in place in the last two years that have given the defence sector an unexpected growth trajectory.

These include setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh & Tamil Nadu; increasing the FDI limit to 74 per cent through automatic route and 100 per cent through Government route under certain circumstances; inclusion of 'Buy and Make' category in Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020 which provides a vendor with an economical workforce and India gets technology & trained manpower.

The draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP-2020) has provisions to incentivise foreign investment.

Two positive indigenisation lists have also been brought out to increase business collaboration.

India's economy back on track

Singh pointed out that the country’s economy was back on track despite the COVID-19 situation due to the steps taken by the Government.

“India's GDP has shown a 'V' shaped growth curve in the last two years. Where the growth witnessed a contraction of 24 per cent last year, a jump of 20 per cent has been seen in the first quarter of this year. It is a reflection of the country’s sound economic fundamentals,” he said.

He added that the country was expecting double digit growth in FY-22 despite the challenge of COVID-19.

"But the challenge will be to maintain a healthy growth rate of 7-8 per cent in the years after FY-22," he said.

In this context, he noted that major structural & procedural reforms in the seven years have prepared India to take a quantum jump in terms of growth.

Formulation of progressive & investor friendly tax policies, increased focus on ease of doing business, agriculture and labour reforms are some of the initiatives that have laid the foundation of a ‘New India’, he stated.

The Defence Minister also lauded the Indian industry for fulfilling the requirement of masks, PPE kits, ventilators and working with the Government to deal with the pandemic.

He added that the Industry is playing a significant role in the world's largest vaccination drive being undertaken in India.
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