* Minister assures further reduction in tax for defence sector
* Invitation extended to French arms industry to help in aeroengines
Paris: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh today said India and France intend to explore ways to strengthen their defence industrial partnership.
Addressing the Chief Executive Officers of French defence industries here, Rajnath Singh asked the French companies for collaboration to modernise India’s shipyards and defence platforms by infusion of technology and urged them to make India its base for production of defence equipment not only for India’s large market but also for export to other countries.
“We have undertaken significant economic reforms to improve the ease of doing business and opening up the economy for investments. Our government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened up defence sector manufacturing to a large extent under the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” Rajnath Singh said.
A Ministry of Defence statement said the minister underlined the significance of implementation of a single Goods and Services Tax across India, the biggest tax reform since its independence. “We have recently reduced our corporate tax significantly. For ‘Make in India‘ in defence, if there is need for further tax rationalisation, it may be considered suitably,” he said.
He extended a special invitation to French firms to participate in DefExpo 2020, which will be held in Lucknow from Feb. 5 to 8 next year. “Lucknow happens to be a city of rich culture and heritage and the French people are known to be highly appreciative of great cultures. Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh which is also a land of new opportunities,” he added.
Rajnath Singh highlighted India’s substantial requirement of aeroengines both in civil and military domains. He requested French Original Equipment Manufacturers to consider exploring development of an aeroengine complex on government-to-government basis, saying French companies could leverage from advantages in India such as low wages and availability of technical manpower.
India’s Ambassador to France Vinay Kwatra and Indian Ministry of Defence’s Additional Secretary Barun Mitra were present along with Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh held the second India-France ministerial-level Annual Defence Dialogue with French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly on Oct. 8 in Paris.
During the meeting, the two ministers comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation, a key pillar of India-France Strategic Partnership. They also exchanged views on contemporary regional and international developments of mutual interest.
Both sides discussed ways to further deepen defence-related official as well as operational level interactions. The two nations agreed to expand the scope and complexity of the existing regular bilateral joint exercises (SHAKTI, VARUNA and GARUDA).
Recognising that India-France partnership in the Indian Ocean Region is crucial for preserving and promoting the common strategic and security interests, the two ministers noted the continuing implementation of actions outlined in the ‘Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region’ announced in March 2018. The ministers also reaffirmed the strong intention of the two sides to further deepen bilateral cooperation on counter terrorism.
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