Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday called on the Indian defence manufacturers to produce state-of-the-art and cost effective military products not only for India but also for the world.
He also said India has set a target of turnover of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in defence manufacturing by 2025, noting that boosting domestic production of military equipment is a major focus of the government.
The defence minister was addressing the fifth annual session of Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).
In his remarks, Singh asserted that the government fully understands the importance of a fool-proof security apparatus and is constantly working towards bolstering all dimensions of national security to take the country to greater heights.
"Only a secure and strong nation can achieve the heights of success. No matter how rich or knowledgeable a nation is, its prosperity is threatened if national security is not ensured," he said.
"We are focussing on national security and economic prosperity to make India one of the strongest countries in the world," he added. Singh said former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee considered the private sector as a game-changer and the present government is carrying forward that vision with great zeal.
He said the defence ministry has already put out three lists comprising 309 defence items which will not be imported under a staggered timeline.
Singh also highlighted the strategic partnership model for defence production that is aimed at encouraging production of fighter jets, military helicopters, tanks and submarines in the country.
"We just have to keep walking, keep going without getting tired," he said. Singh called upon the Indian defence industry to identify and manufacture state-of-the-art cost-effective products and technologies to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a 'New India' that not only caters to its own needs, but also fulfils international requirements.
Talking about the Indian economy, the defence minister said the country received a total of USD 83.57 billion inflow of foreign direct investment in the last fiscal which he said is a "record". "The whole world is keen to invest in India as the country has emerged as an attractive investment destination,' he said.
"It shows that now is the time to move ahead at a much faster pace," Singh added.
Singh listed out the steps taken to encourage the private sector, including earmarking 68 per cent of the capital procurement budget for domestic industry in 2022-23, out of which, 25 per cent has been allocated for the private sector.
"According to a recent report of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 2021, world military spending crossed USD 2 trillion for the first time. It has increased by 0.7 per cent as compared to 2020 and 12 per cent as compared to 2012," he said.
"Our armed forces will also spend a substantial amount on capital procurement in the years to come. This shows that the security needs of the world are set to increase. India is capable of meeting those needs, both in terms of quality and cost-effectiveness," he added.
He said efforts made by the government have started to yield positive results as there has been an increase in the number of contracts being awarded to the domestic industry.
He added that as a result of the efforts, over 10,000 MSMEs have joined the defence sector, with an increase being witnessed in research and development, start-ups, innovation and employment.
"Seven-eight years ago, our defence exports were not even Rs 1,000 crore. They have now crossed Rs 13,000 crore. We have set a target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore of defence production by 2025, which includes export of Rs 35,000 crore," Singh said.
(With PTI Inputs)