Modi govt. plans to boost defence export with private sector role: Rajnath

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (centre) chairing a roundtable on ‘Make in India’ in New Delhi today. India Army vice chief Lt Gen. D. Anbu (extreme left), Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik, Defence Production Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar are also seen.

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is planning to boost defence exports from the current 107-billion rupees ($1.5 billion) to friendly foreign nations by taking the help of the private sector in arms production.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who met with nearly 45 public and private aerospace and defence industry leaders here today for a round table on ‘Make in India‘, said the two linked sectors had a huge export potential.

“The government wants to encourage and promote the participation of the private sector in the aerospace and defence sectors. Self-reliance will remain a pipe dream if we do not promote indigenous technology in these critical sectors,” Rajnath said in his opening address at the round table.

His emphasis on the private sector participation sent across a positive sentiment among the participating industry leaders. The industry was represented by foreign original equipment manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus Group and BAE Systems, whereas the local private sector had representation from Larsen and Toubro, Reliance Defence & Engineering Ltd. and the Tata Advanced Systems Ltd.

The Defence Minister said the government had a major responsibility on the promotion of the indigenous industry in strategic sector such as defence and the government will follow a multi-pronged approach to achieve its target of a $5-trillion economy in the next five years.

Some of the statistics he provided the participants include:

  • Foreign Direct Investment in the defence sector grew seven times since FY14 when it was 16.84 billion rupees to 107.05 billion rupees in FY19.
  • Entry barriers for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises were reduced, doubling defence licenses from 215 in 2014 to 440 in 2019.
  • India processed $1.5 billion worth of defence offsets in FY19
  • India produced 800 billion rupees worth of military products in FY19, of which 160 billion rupees came from the private sector
  • India’s defence public sector and ordnance factories had outsourced about 30 per cent of its production to indigenous private industries.
  • Defence Investor Cell established a year ago in the Ministry has processed nearly 550 queries and grievances.
Government officials at the defence industry round table chaired by the Defence Minister.

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