India has an estimated Rs 85,000 crore industry of aerospace and defence

The government is according top priority to self-reliance in defence, in view of the ever-changing security scenario, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday.

Singh hoped that India will soon become a net exporter from a net importer.

“The government aims to achieve the export target of Rs 35,000 crore by 2024-25. Presently, India is exporting defence equipment to around 70 countries. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2020 report, India is in the list of top 25 countries in defence exports,” he said.

Defence Minister Singh was delivering the inaugural address at the MSME Conclave, organised by the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence in partnership with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).

He expressed confidence that Indian manufacturers and their associated Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will play a major role in catering to the defence needs of the country and also meet the global requirement.

Large industries & MSMEs complement each other and together can bolster the security & economy of the country, he pointed out.

“We have an estimated Rs 85,000 crore industry of aerospace and defence. The contribution of the private sector in this has increased to Rs 18,000 crore. Our vision to make India a global defence manufacturing hub,” he said.

The country’s defence exports crossed Rs 38,000 crore mark in the last seven years due to the reforms undertaken by the Government, Singh said.

In addition to this, 12,000 MSMEs joined the defence sector and there has been an increase in R&D, startups, innovation & employment opportunities. SIDM has now more than 500 members due to these policies, he said.

According to Singh, projects under Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) and Technology development Fund (TDF) scheme are mainly reserved for startups and MSMEs.

“These schemes extend financial assistance for development of defence technology and hand-holding by user services, thus providing necessary impetus to MSMEs, startups and individual innovators. They are being funded with financial grants to provide innovative solutions to the problem statements prepared by the Services and new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Robotics can be used,” he said.