India Emerging As Defence Hub Despite Challenges: PM Modi At Defence Expo 2018

| April 12 , 2018 , 13:07 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 'Make In India' segment of the Defence Expo 2018 at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on Thursday. He started his address with the praising and admiring of the Cholas' land.

He said, "I am delighted and overwhelmed to see an enthusiastic gathering in this historic region of Kanchipuram in the great State of Tamil Nadu. I am very happy to be here in the land of the great Cholas who established India's historical civilization links through trade and education."

Admitting to challenges for the defence sector, Modi said his government has increased FDI in the sector to 49 percent to promote 'Make in India' for defence and that the government has also launched a Defence Excellence Scheme to promote India as the major military manufacturing hub.

Addressing delegates from over 40 nations, the PM said India is committed to equipping its armed forces with modern technologies. 

"Our commitment to peace is just as strong as our commitment to protecting our people and our territory. For this, we are ready to take all necessary measures to equip our Armed Forces, including through the establishment of a strategically independent defence industrial complex," said PM Modi.

"We are conscious that defence manufacturing is unique in terms of government involvement. You need the government to grant a license to manufacture. Since the government is almost the only buyer, you need the government to grant an order. You need the government even to grant permission to export," he added.

PM Modi put emphasis on the Defence programme and initiatives taken by the government.

"Over the last few years, we have made a humble beginning. On defence manufacturing licenses, on defence offsets, on defence exports clearances, on Foreign Direct Investment in defence manufacturing, and on reforming our defence procurement, we have taken many steps," said PM Modi.

"The Defence Procurement Procedure has been revised with many specific provisions for stimulating the growth of domestic defence industry. We have also de-notified some items earlier made exclusively by Ordnance Factories, so that private sector, esp. MSMEs can enter this space," he said.

"In May 2014, the total number of defence export permission granted stood at 118, for a total value of 577 million dollars. In less than four years, we have issued 794 more export permissions, for a total value of over 1.3 billion dollars," the PM added.

"We are committed to establishing 2 Defence Industrial Corridors: 1 in TN & 1 in UP. These will utilize defence manufacturing ecosystems in the regions & further build upon it. The corridors will become engines of economic development & growth of defence industrial base," he said.

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"We have launched the ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’ scheme. It will set up Defence Innovation Hubs throughout the country to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the start-ups in the defence sector," PM Modi said. 

"There was a time when the critical issue of defence preparedness was hampered by policy paralysis. We have seen the damage such laziness, incompetence or perhaps some hidden motives can cause to the nation. Not now, not anymore, never again," he said.