Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled HTT-40 – an indigenous trainer aircraft designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the first time at the DefExpo22 in Gandhinagar. The state-of-the-art trainer aircraft has many pilot-friendly features.
He also launched Mission DefSpace to develop innovative solutions for the Armed Forces in the space domain and laid the foundation stone of Deesa airfield in Gujarat.
Addressing the gathering, both as a Prime Minister and son of Gujarat, PM Modi said that the DefExpo 2022, paints a picture of New India and its capabilities at the time of Amrit Kaal.
The Prime Minister went on to add that the new India is moving ahead with the mantra of intent, innovation and implementation in the defence sector. Till about 8 years back, India was the world’s largest defence importer. But now the New India with the intent, willpower and ‘Make in India’ resolve is scripting a success story in the defence sector.
“Our defence exports have grown 8 times in the last 5 years. We are exporting defence materials and equipment to more than 75 countries of the world. In 2021-22 Defence exports from India reached $1.59 billion i.e. about 13 thousand crore rupees. And in the coming time, we have set a target to reach 5 billion dollars i.e. 40 thousand crore rupees’” he added.
According to the Prime Minister, “Space technology is an example of what security will mean for any strong nation in the future. Various challenges in this area have been reviewed and identified by the three services. We have to work fast to solve them.”
“Mission Defence Space”, he continued, “will not only encourage innovation and strengthen our forces but also provide new and innovative solutions.”
Highlighting the importance of space technology and opening up new possibilities for India’s space diplomacy, the PM observed, “Many African countries and many other small countries are benefiting from this.”
The Prime Minister went on to add that India is sharing its space science with more than 60 developing countries. “The South Asia satellite is an effective example of this. By next year, ten ASEAN countries will also get real-time access to India’s satellite data. Even developed countries like Europe and America are using our satellite data”, he added.
According to the Prime Minister, the world, today is relying on India’s technology. To support his claim he cited the example of INS-Vikrant the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier made by Cochin Shipyard Limited using indigenous technology which was recently inducted by the Indian Navy in its fleet as well as the Prachand Light Combat Helicopters developed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Both of them are clear examples of India’s defence capability and will go on to make India self-reliant in the defence sector he said.
As a step towards achieving the goal of a self-reliant India, the Prime Minister went on to disclose that the government would soon release lists of equipment which would be procured only from within the country. The MoD had earlier promulgated the ‘First, Second and Third Positive Lists’ of 310 items on August 21, 2020, May 31, 2021, and April 07, 2022, respectively. The ‘Fourth Positive Indigenisation List’ of 101 items which will only be bought under the “Make in India’ program was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. All the items included in these lists can only be procured from indigenous sources as per provisions given in Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020. According to PM Modi, these measures are likely to benefit the small companies around the world that are left behind due to a lack of resources.
The list of items mentioned in the 4th Positive Indigenisation List includes – Next Generation Frigates, ILMEN-GUVK Gyro System for Kamov Helicopters, Shipborne Gun Direction Fire Control Radar, Next Generation Damage Control (DC) and Fire Fighting (FF) Simulator for Ships and Submarines, Main and Nose Wheel Tyres for (Jaguar, LCA, IL-76, IL 78 and MiG-29) Aircraft as well as Mi-17 Helicopter, Automatic Missile Detection Radar for Ships, Long Range UAV (HALE) and Wearable Robotic for Aircraft Maintenance.
Significantly this is in consonance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the rampart of Red Fort on the occasion of 76th Independence Day in which he said, “The resolution of our country is not small when the armed forces make a list and decide not to import 300 defence products. In this resolution, I can see the seed of a bright future of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ that will convert this dream into a Banyan tree”.
The items mentioned in the fourth list provide a glimpse of the opportunities available for the domestic defence industry to understand the future needs of the Armed Forces and set up the requisite R&D and manufacturing capacity within the country.
Highlighting the importance of the 12th edition of Defexpo, the Prime Minister said “this is the first defence expo where only Indian companies are participating and it features only Made in India equipment.”
The Prime Minister called upon all the companies present at the Defence Expo and urged them to give shape to these opportunities keeping India the future at the centre. “You innovate, take a pledge to be the best in the world, and give shape to the dream of a strong developed India. You will always find me there supporting you”, he concluded.
Noting the positive response from various countries, the PM expressed happiness that 53 friendly countries from Africa are taking part in the second India-Africa Defence Dialogue. “This relationship between India and Africa is based on time-tested trust that is further deepening and touching new dimensions with the passing of time”, the Prime Minister added.
Dwelling upon the old ties between Africa and Gujarat, the Prime Minister recalled that the first railway lines in Africa had the participation of people from Kutch. Many words used in daily life in Africa have their origin in the Gujarati community in Africa.
“Even for a global leader like Mahatma Gandhi, if Gujarat was his birthplace, then Africa was his first ‘Karmbhoomi’. This affinity for Africa is still central to India’s foreign policy. During the Corona period, when the whole world was worried about the vaccine, India delivered the vaccine giving priority to our friendly countries in Africa”, he said.
“Today, from international security to global trade, maritime security has emerged as a global priority. The role of the merchant navy has also expanded in the era of globalisation,” the Prime Minister said while commenting on the 2nd Indian Ocean Region+ (IOR+) Conclave also being held during the Expo, in line with the Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) vision and geopolitical framework of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.
“The world’s expectations from India have increased, and I assure the world community that India will fulfil them. Therefore, this Defense Expo is also a symbol of global trust towards India” he added.
Underlining the infinite ocean of opportunities in the defence sector the Prime Minister said that India is building two defence corridors in UP and Tamil Nadu and many big companies of the world are coming to invest in India. “Investments of such scale in this sector will generate huge employment opportunities for the youth in those areas which were not even thought of earlier”, the Prime Minister added.
According to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the Government’s strong resolve is to protect the nation from all threats and transform India into a global defence manufacturing hub in the next 25 years. “DefExpo is a symbol of an aspirational and self-reliant India. It is a symbol of the pride, power and resolve of India,” he said.
According to Rajnath Singh, many countries have shown interest in the defence equipment, technologies and training systems made in India. He added that the changing scenario is providing new opportunities for the private sector as today big industrial houses are competing for defence projects and are ready to make big investments.
Rajnath Singh went on to add that while land, water and sky have traditionally been the frontiers of operation of our military, now we are expanding our defence capabilities to the depth of the ocean in the form of Under Water Domain Awareness and heights of space as Aero-Space force.
Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel, Governor of Gujarat, Acharya Devvrat, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Anil Chauhan, Chief of Army Staff, Gen Manoj Pande, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar were among those present on occasion.
On the sidelines of the DefExpo 2022 Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary to the Government of India, held a number of bilateral meetings with delegations from African nations to discuss potential areas of cooperation like Lt Gen Isman Mohamed Hassan Karar (Secretary General MoD, Sudan) and Lt Gen Rashad Abdelhamid Ismail Abdalla, (Sudan Army Chief), Norman Chipakupaku (Secretary, MoD Zambia), Brigadier General Diddilli Amadou, (Secretary General of the Defence Minister, Niger), Maj Gen Sidiki Samake, Secretary General, Defence Mali).
-The writer is a seasoned media professional with over three decades of experience in print, electronic, and web media. He is presently Editor of Taazakhabar News