Defence Minister Rajnath Singh : Govt targets Rs 50,000 cr defence exports by 2028-29

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New Delhi, March 7 : Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the Modi government has prioritised the defence sector and along with the promotion of indigenous manufacturing was aiming at an export target of Rs 50,000 crore for military hardware by 2028-29. Speaking at the NDTV Defence Summit here, the minister said, “In 2014, when Prime Minister Modi’s government came to power, we put the defence sector as one of our main priorities. Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) was encouraged and we introduced many Make-in-India initiatives. Our focus was on military modernisation,” he said. Elaborating on the new eco-system for defence manufacturing based on Aatmanirbharta, he said the country’s defence exports during the current financial year were now close to Rs 20,000 crore and he was confident by 2028-29 the figure would touch Rs 50,000 crore. “I am not saying that previous governments did not take steps to strengthen the country’s defence sector. But the difference is that we brought Aatmanirbharta in the defence sector based on our faith in India’s capability. This faith in India’s capability was lacking among the previous governments,” he added. The Defence Minister said the government had corporatised the ordnance factories which had made them more technology-friendly and increased accountability which has resulted in an increase in production. He said the government has also put its trust in indigenous companies such as Hindustan Aeronautical Limited, Tata and L&T to boost the defence sector. The Minister said India now imports technology “only when our own innovation falls short”. He said that as much as 75 per cent procurement of defence equipment was now being reserved from indigenous companies. The value of India-made defence equipment has now gone up from Rs 30,000 crore in 2014 to Rs 1.10 lakh crore, he added. He pointed out that the government was encouraging startups in the defence sector, especially by young entrepreneurs, to develop cutting-edge technology and had raised the financial assistance being offered to them to Rs 25 crore. The Defence Minister hit out at the “Anglicised elite” which had fostered a slave mentality in the country and relegated the country’s rich cultural heritage to the background. Underlining the government’s vision to reduce dependence on other countries, he said, “As a nation, adopting a mindset of technological dependence on other countries can be detrimental to our overall well-being, impacting various facets such as literature, daily life and every aspect of our existence. Prime Minister Modi is striving to break free from this mentality.” “We must break free from thinking that we are dependent on others and change the way we approach progress,” he said. To drive home his point, the Defence Minister quoted lines by poet Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena. “Lik par ve chalen jinke charan durbal aur hare hain, hamein to jo hamari yatra se bane aise anirmit panth pyare hain (Those whose feet are weak and defeated should follow the trodden path, we like the path created by our journey),” he added.

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