The Defence Minister said India cannot depend on other countries for defence technologies

The government has told countries like the US, Russia & France that it wishes to manufacture defence equipment in India, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday.

Inviting every country to ‘Make in India, Make for India and Make for the world', Defence Minister Singh said, "national security is our top priority”.

In this context, he mentioned the recent agreement with Russia, worth more than Rs 5,000 crore, to manufacture over six lakh AK-203 Rifles in Amethi.

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

The Government’s vision is to make India a global defence manufacturing hub, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.

The focus is to modernise the Armed Forces and create a strong & ‘Aatmanirbhar’ defence industry which can help in safeguarding the country from conventional and non-conventional, present and future security threats, he said.

"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 pointed out.

Defence Minister 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.

Singh listed out measures taken by the Government to promote foreign investment, including increasing the FDI limit to 74 per cent through automatic route and 100 per cent through Government route under certain circumstances.

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 noted.

The Defence Minister 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.

Voicing the Government’s aim to tap the potential of MSMEs and ensure their progress, Shri Rajnath Singh said, a series of steps have been taken to encourage indigenisation, development & 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.