Rs three lakh crore annual defence production & Rs 50,000 crore exports expected by 2028-29: Raksha Mantri

“The Government, headed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, is focusing on long-term gains and not short-term outcomes to make India a developed nation by 2047,” said Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh at a Defence Summit organised by a private media organisationin New Delhi on February 24, 2024.Shri Rajnath Singhtermed ‘giving priority to long-termism and long-term gains’ as the main difference between the present Governmentand the previous dispensations.


The Raksha Mantri stated that unlike in the past, the present Government has formulated and implemented policies which not only provide short-term gains for just five years. He enumerated the reforms undertaken in the defence sector for long-term gains in the last few years, including creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff and setting up of the Department of Military Affairs which has enhanced jointness, synergy and smooth coordination among the three Services.


Shri Rajnath Singh pointed out that the Government has been focusing on the integration of the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force, which will ensure enhanced coordination among them in times of crisis. “Earlier, the three Services used to work in silos. We focused on their integration whichwas an out-of-the-box step and the need of the hour. It was a little difficult in the beginning; but todayour military is ready with better coordination to deal with every challenge together,” he said.


On the major steps taken in the field of defence manufacturing, the Raksha Mantri said the Ministry of Defence notified five positive indigenisation lists of the Services, comprising over 500 items, and four other lists, with over 4,600 items for DPSUs,to ensure that the soldiers use made in India weapons and platforms. He also referred to the decision to earmark 75% of the capital acquisition budget for procurement from local companies. He added that some people were of the view that indigenous weapons won’t be world class; however, the government believes in the capabilities of the domestic industry and that they can consistently improve & deliver state-of-the-art products.


Shri Rajnath Singh emphasised that radical changes have been made in the defence sector for long-term gains to make it completely self-reliant, and achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. He stated that imposing a ban on import of arms was a short-term difficulty as today that challenge is slowly turning into opportunity, andIndia is rising on the defence industrial landscape of the world. “Today, our military is using weapons and platforms, which are manufactured on our own soil,” he said.


The Raksha Mantri reasserted that no military can protect its nation fromequipment imported from outside and self-reliance in defence productionis must for India in today’s time. He pointed out that the Government’s persistent efforts towards self-reliance have started to bear fruit as the defence production has crossed Rs one lakh crore.


Shri Rajnath Singh was of the view that through initiatives like setting up defence industrial corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the Government is making sure that modern military hardware is not only manufactured in India, but also exported to friendly countries. “Earlier, India was known to be an arms importer. But today, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, we have come out of our comfort zone and found a place in the list of top-25 arms exporter nations.Seven-eight years ago, defence exports did not even touch Rs 1,000 crore. Today, it has touched Rs 16,000 crore. By 2028-29, annual defence production is expected to touch Rs three lakh crore and defence exports Rs 50,000 crore,” he said.


The Raksha Mantri added that while the Government is supporting huge companies, it is also inviting young ignited minds to the defence sector through start-ups, terming it another step taken for long-term gains. He said in the coming 20-25 years, these companies, on the back of their innovations, will help give a new dimension to India’s strong identity on the global stage. He referred to the recent meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council, in which effective steps were taken to promote start-ups. For procurement from start-ups, costing, payment terms, eligibility etc have been liberalised, he said.


On the emergence of technology as a great warrior in today’s constantly-evolving times, Shri Rajnath Singh underscored the significanceof investing in futuristic technologies such as artificialintelligence, quantum computing, smartweapons, cyber warfare and space warfare. He voiced the Government’s long-term vision ofmaking India a major player in the field of technology, saying that a number of steps have been taken, including the launch of Innovations of Defence Technology (iDEX), Technology Development Fund scheme under DRDO and the setting up of National Research Foundation.


The Raksha Mantri informed that in the Financial Year 2023-24, capital acquisition worth more than Rs 4,35,000 crore have been given in-principle approval till now. He added that Ministry of Defence was allocated Rs 6.21 lakh crore in the Union Budget 2024-25, which is the highest among the Ministries. He also spoke of the Agnipath scheme, which aims to make the country’s military as one of the strongest in the world. These decisions reflect the Government’s long-term approach towards national security, he said.


Shri Rajnath Singh described it as the Government’s aimto manufacture high-end systems like aero-engines and gas turbines in India in the coming five years. “When the ability and dedication of our youth is extraordinary and the intentions of the government are clear, the question of setting simple targets does not arise. We will soon embark on an exciting journey towards achieving extraordinary goals,” he said.


The Raksha Mantri also listed out some of the decisions towards long-term gains in other sectors, including the successful implementation of GST, initiatives in health & education sectors, and banking reforms. Hehighlighted the Government’s efforts towards infrastructure development, such as Sagarmala& PM Gati Shakti schemes,as well astowards social welfare, which are ensuring holistic development of thecountry.He said the government has been working on big long-term infrastructure projects, wherein the outcome is visible after 5-10 years, underliningthe Prime Minister’s clear vision to create next generation infrastructure for future generations.


Shri Rajnath Singh added that women are being provided opportunities in every field at par with their male counterparts, which is another important aspect of the Government’s long-term approach. “Through the Nari Shakti VandanAdhiniyam, women have been given their political rights, which was pending for years.Women today stand shoulder-to-shoulder with men in every field.The role of women in the Armed Forces is increasing and becoming more important, and it will continue to grow,” he said.