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India's self-reliance in defence sector to boost its global standing: PM Narendra Modi 

The Economic Times , Aug 27, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India would shape its position as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region by emerging as a reliable weapon supplier to friendly nations, a resolve that he linked with the goal of self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

The PM said this would reinforce India’s strategic partnerships as he laid out a roadmap for greater participation of the private sector in weapon manufacturing and invited foreign players to set up shops given the reforms being unrolled in FDI and labour rules.

In a surprise address at a FICCI webinar on Atmanirbhar Bharat - he was not scheduled to speak at the event - PM Modi said the Atmanirbhar initiative wasn’t inward-looking but was aimed at making the global economy more resilient and stable and was directed at the goal of world peace.

“India has the capability to become a reliable weapons supplier for several of our friendly nations, this will give India’s strategic partnerships more heft. It will also shape India’s position as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region,” the PM said at the webinar organised by FICCI.

The comments gain significance given the current border conflict with China and troop build-up that continues in eastern Ladakh since May this year. According to global arms transfer data, a bulk of Chinese arms exports are made to India’s neighbourhood — Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

The PM said that the private sector will receive more orders in the coming days and urged the industry to focus on research and development of future technologies, saying that this should not be left only to the Defence Research and Development Organisation. He assured that the negative list for imports - announced earlier this month - would be expanded in the future and was aimed at boosting the domestic industry.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said the ministry was earmarking a significant portion of its annual budget to procurement from the domestic industry, with this year’s outplay pegged at 52,000 crore.

“In the present day, technology will drive capability and countries with cutting-edge technologies will lead the world. It is vital that India’s military power is based on indigenous technology which will enable us to exercise strategic autonomy,” he said.

The minister assured the private industry a level-playing field with the public sector and said the aim was not just self-reliance but to ‘Make for the world’, emphasising that exports would be a priority area in the coming years. Singh assured the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board was a work in progress and said that process should be completed within a year, in what would be one of the biggest reforms in defence manufacturing in decades.

 

 

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 Atmanirbhar Bharat Defence Industry Outreach Webinar