India to build $26-billion defence industry by 2025

Photo: India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh speaking at the ‘India Rising’ event in Bangkok today.

Bangkok: India is committed to achieving $26-billion defence industry by 2025, Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh today said at an industry event here, exhorting global arms manufacturers to join the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Narendra Modi government.

Speaking at the ‘India Rising’ event, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce at the ‘Defence and Security Exhibition 2019‘, Rajnath Singh said the defence sector has been given prominence under the ‘Make in India‘ initiative to reduce dependence on imports and make India a major defence manufacturing hub and net exporter of defence equipment and platforms.

He said the Modi government has set a target of taking India’s defence exports to $5 billion by 2025 under the ‘Draft Defence Production Policy 2018‘. “On one hand, this target is ambitious, but at the same time, it is encouraging that India’s defence exports have grown almost six-fold in the last two years.”

Rajnath Singh said India expects around $10 billion investment in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025, which could provide employment to two million to three million people.

Listing out the initiatives of the Ministry of Defence that led to rapid increase in defence exports, he said these measures included simplification of procedures for exports and industry licensing process, increase in Foreign Direct Investment cap, streamlining of defence offset policy, and making government trial and testing facilities available to the private sector.

The ‘Defence Procurement Procedure‘ was revised in 2016 to encourage the domestic defence industry and a new category ‘Buy Indian – IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)‘ was introduced to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment, he said.

“The government’s desire to establish two defence corridors in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh is clear. A Defence Innovation Hub is already functioning in Coimbatore. A Defence Planning Committee has also been formed. In this regard, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has planned to build a defence manufacturing corridor along with the proposed Bundelkhand Expressway, which will help in making India self-reliant in the field of defence production.”

Photo: India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh at the ‘India Rising’ industry event in Bangkok today.

Rajnath Singh also highlighted that the government has undertaken far-reaching reforms in the last five-and-a-half years to increase synergy between public and private sector. It has contributed positively in defence production and procurement. Work is on to introduce a common testing and certification scheme under a Public-Private Partnership model to create an enabling environment.

The defence minister voiced the government’s resolve to promote self-reliance in defence through Identification, Incubation, Innovation, Integration and Indigenisation. The defence ministry, he said, has set a target to fund 250 startups, 16 personal initiatives and five Defence Innovation Hubs through Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) in the next five years.

He hoped that at least 50 technological designs would be made to meet the requirements of the armed forces. A Defence Innovation Fund is also being prepared to support government participation through equity investment in defence startups.

“A new Transfer of Technology (ToT) policy is being created to simplify the way of transferring technology developed by DRDO to the industry. So far, more than 900 ToT licensing agreements have been signed with industries, which is a major step towards making the defence manufacturing sector self-sufficient,” he added.

Rajnath Singh invited domestic and overseas investors to actively participate in the coming DefExpo 2020 to be held in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, which is also his parliamentary constituency, from Feb. 5 to 8, 2020.

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