Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 10th edition of defence expo in Chennai today. He was accompanied by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam at the event. Addressing the international delegates and domestic manufacturers at the defence expo, the Prime Minister said that India aims to be a major exporter in the defence sector. As now, India is the largest importer of arms, and PM Modi said that the government aims to develop defence manufacturing under its flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Here are the top 10 highlights from PM Modi’s address
1. PM Narendra Modi called the DefExpo 2018 a major success with the participation of over 500 Indian companies and over 150 foreign defence manufacturing firms. He also welcomed delegations from 40 different countries that were participating in the defence expo.
2. The Prime Minister assured his commitment to peace, but also said that the government was equally committed to protecting the people of India. He said the government was taking all steps to ensure that all three services are equipped with necessary weapons and technology to combat the threat.
3. In order to boost defence production in the country, the Prime Minister welcomed the move of establishing two defence industrial corridors in the country. He said that both defence corridors, one in Tamil Nadu and the other in Uttar Pradesh would utilise the resources to develop defence manufacturing ecosystems in the region. He also said that the corridors would be powerhouses of economic development in both the regions.
4. Prime Minister Modi agreed that the role of the government was the most important one in defence manufacturing sector. This is because it is the government agencies that grant licenses to the defence manufacturers. With respect to India, both the buyer and the body granting the order is the government. Prime Minister said that the government had taken steps to ease bureaucratic processes in the defence sector.
5. Foreign Direct Investment in defence sector in India, currently permits foreign companies to own 49% of Indian units. Prime Minister Modi said that the decision to liberalise foreign investment in defence sector had boosted defence production under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
6. Under the new defence procurement procedure, PM Modi said that there were specific provisions made to develop the growth of indigenous defence industry. He also said that systemic changes and de-notification of some regulations were made to make sure that MSMEs and Ordnance factories grow efficiently.
7. Prime Minister also asserted that the government had brought in reforms to address issues of defence export clearances. Last year, the total number of defence export permission granted stood at 118, which had an evaluation of over Rs. 300 Cr. However, after the present government has issued 794 export permissions, which is evaluated at Rs. 850 Cr.
8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also launched the iDex, Innovation for Defence Excellence scheme today. The scheme will set up innovation hubs particularly for the defence sector across the country. PM also said that the scheme wishes to incubate ideas and provide support through infrastructure for defence related start-ups.
9. Prime Minister also spoke about the bulletproof jackets that were procured by the army. He claimed that the procurement process was held up due to many factors and it was recently that it met with the conclusion of the deal. The production of bulletproof jackets will also provide a massive push for the defence production sector in India.
10. And lastly, Prime Minister also said that the process to procure fighter aircraft will soon meet its conclusion. He assured that the Ministry of Defence had taken immediate steps to meet the growing needs of the defence forces.