Weapon systems for India have to made here: Rajnath

India has very clearly conveyed to friendly nations like the US, Russia and France that weapon systems and platforms required by the Indian armed forces will have to be manufactured here, defence minister Rajnath Singh said.

Voicing the government’s aim to make India a global defence production hub and self-reliant in its military requirements, Singh said it was agreed during talks with French defence minister Florence Parly on Friday that a major French company will produce “an engine” in India by joining hands with an Indian company under the strategic partnership model.

Though the minister did not elaborate, the engine is likely to be for military helicopters to be produced by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in the years ahead. Addressing the annual general meeting of Ficci, Singh said the worth of India’s defence and aerospace manufacturing market would increase to Rs 1 lakh crore by next year from the present Rs 85,000 crore. “When I talk about ‘India Beyond 75’, I see this figure to be Rs 5 lakh crore by 2047,” he said.

Noting that India’s defence exports have grown by 325% in the last five years, he said the country will not only achieve its export target of Rs 35,000 crore by 2024-25 but will also become a net exporter of defence equipment.

The minister also said the figure of the 209 items placed under an arms embargo under the two ‘positive indigenization’ lists so far will cross the 1,000-mark in this decade.

India cannot depend on other countries for defence technologies due to its stature, its geographical location and the myriad security challenges it faces. “For the security of India and its people, it is necessary that we develop our defence capacity and capability so that even the most powerful country in the world has to think a thousand times before planning anything that endangers our interests,” Singh said.

“We have told every friendly country that we want to produce the military platforms, weapons and ammunition in India itself keeping in mind the security of the country...,” the Union defence minister added.

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