New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh September 30 said defence exports have crossed Rs 38,000 crore mark in the last seven years with more than 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) having joined the defence sector and there has been an increase in research and development, start-ups, innovation and employment.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), he said government has created an atmosphere of jointness to ensure modernisation of the Armed Forces in the rapidly evolving global security scenario.
The Defence Minister said, countries around the world are now focusing on the modernisation of their militaries and the demand for military equipment is rapidly increasing due to emerging security concerns, border disputes and maritime dominance.
“India is capable of meeting these needs through a cost-effective and quality approach. By India, we mean public sector, private sector, academia, research and development. We believe in taking them all on board together,” Singh said.
He emphasised that the Indian defence industry is home to manufacturers who can create a perfect blend of state-of-the-art, high quality and cost-effective hardware which will not only bolster national security but make India a net defence exporter. He reiterated the Government’s resolve of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for the world’ through past learnings, present works, with focus on empowering the future.
Underlining the importance of indigenisation, Singh listed out a number of reforms undertaken by the government to encourage the participation of private sector and achieve ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said the government is providing a suitable growth environment to the private sector. “We have opened up opportunities to build a Mega Defence Programme, including fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks and submarines through a strategic partnership model that will help our private companies become global giants in the years to come. The recent contract of 56 transport aircraft for Indian Air Force is one such example,” he said.
He appreciated the suggestions of the private sector that have been incorporated in various policy reforms, including ‘Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP 2020), draft Defence Procurement Manual (DPM) 2021 and the two Positive Indigenisation lists.
Terming sustainability as an integral part of self-reliance, he urged the industry to also focus on emerging areas such as cyberspace and Artificial Intelligence by investing in R&D, developing new technologies and products and taking advantage of government’s policies. He called upon the private players to utilise the country’s talent to achieve this objective.
Saying that the concept of ‘Make in India and Make for the World’ has been a part of Indian civilizational ethos, he exhorted the industry to keep moving forward and help the Government realise its vision of making India a global manufacturing hub. He expressed confidence that like the White Revolution and Green Revolution, this public-private partnership will be mentioned as Defence Production Revolution in the annals of Indian defence in the times to come.
Appreciating the fact that the number of SIDM members is about to reach 500, the Minister said the growing popularity of SIDM also reflects the growth of the country’s defence industry. On the setting up of the first SIDM state office in Lucknow and the signing of agreement with the Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority to promote investments in the UP Defence Industrial Corridor, he said that these initiatives indicate the quality of vision and approach of SIDM which is essential to achieve the goal of self-reliance.
President of SIDM Jayant D. Patil, former SIDM President Baba Kalyani and captains of industry were among those present on the occasion.