Military hardware that Indian cos can make won’t be imported: Modi


NEW DELHI, FEB 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday assured industry that any military hardware that Indian companies were capable of designing and manufacturing within the country would not be procured from abroad.
Speaking at an event on the proposals in the budget to boost domestic manufacture of defence hardware, Modi urged Indian companies to take the initiative not only in manufacturing but also in design and development of state of the art hardware.
The event was hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers.
The prime minister’s comments are in line with his plans to reduce India’s dependency on defence imports and make Asia’s third largest economy a significant manufacturer of armaments.
At the biennial DefExpo last year, Modi had set industry the task of exporting $5 billion in made in India military equipment by the year 2025.
To kickstart the Indian economy after almost two months of hard lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the covid-19 pandemic, the Modi government had announced a number of measures to boost manufacturing to make India self reliant under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme.
In defence, the government had allowed 74% foreign ownership in companies to attract private investment from abroad.
That India figured consistently among the top arms importers in the world was not a matter of distinction, the prime minister said in his comments on Monday.
Among the steps taken to encourage local manufacturing was a list of 101 platforms that India had decided to source locally, the prime minister said.
“In government terminology, this is called a ‘negative’ list," Modi said. “But I see this differently. In my view in the terms of self reliance, it is a positive list because it is based on this that our domestic manufacturing will become strong," job creation for people will improve, it will cut dependence on foreign countries to secure the country and is a guarantor of the sales of Indian made products in India, Modi said.
Such made in India products will also be suited to Indian needs of climate and personnel handling the equipment, he said.
“I want to assure you that all procurements in the defence sector that can be designed and made in India by an Indian public sector or private sector firm, that will not be procured from outside – we will have this approach," the prime minister said.
The budget for defence had kept aside funds for procuring exclusively from domestic Indian defence manufacturers, he said. “I would like the Indian companies to consider design and development of hardware alongwith manufacturing."
The prime minister urged Indian industry to take advantages of the new technologies and designs developed by the premier Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The government was looking at changes to rules that would allow easier collaboration between the two, he said. “At the start of new (DRDO) projects, the involvement of private companies will be allowed," he said.
Pointing to the changes in the security environment in the world, the prime minister said there were many small countries in the world that did not previously worry about security given their small size.
“Given the changed security scenario, these small countries are looking looking to secure themselves," Modi said, adding “such countries given their security challenges it is natural that they will be looking at India because we are adept at low cost manufacturing while delivering quality products."
India has a big role to play in helping such countries, he said. Noting that India was exporting products to more than 40 countries in the world Modi said “we need to make a name as a major defence exporter in the world."

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