Good Afternoon, Ladies & Gentlemen,At the outset, it gives me immense pleasure to join all of you at this very important webinar which strives to elevate India – Sweden Defence Industry Partnership to a new level. Our bilateral partnership has grown tremendously over the past few years where we have converged on multiple subjects of strategic and mutual interests. I take this opportunity to also thank Mr Hutlqvist for supporting the Webinar and addressing us all. His presence and commitment towards expanding our Defence cooperation has been significant and we intend to keep this momentum strong and continuing despite the prevailing challenges.
Historically, our two countries have had a great relationship which reflects not only common values but also our commitment to global peace and security. Our strong bilateral relationship is also based on strong business and R&D linkages.
Friends, going through the data in public domain, I could see that our bilateral trades and investment has increased tremendously in recent years, with trades increasing from 3 billion US Dollars in 2016 to 4.6 billion US Dollars in 2019. This growth is spectacular and can be attributed to increase in number of Swedish companies in India, as well as Indian companies in Sweden. India is also third largest trading partner for Sweden in Asia. This shows our robust business ties
Friends, I am happy to note that the Swedish business presence in India is very old as well as diversified. The big names like Ericsson, Spotify, Truecaller in IT Sector, Volvo, Scania in automobiles sector, ABB and SKF inelectrical engineeringand Artificial Intelligencesector andAstraZeneca in pharmaceuticals, SAAB in defence are testimony to the strong Swedish business presence in India.
SAAB has collaboration with several Indian companies including Tech Mahindra, HAL, BEL at Hyderabad, TATA Advanced Materials, Mahindra Aerospace, HAL & CIM Tools at Bangalore.
Friends, similarly the Indian Business presence in Sweden has also been increasing rapidly, some of the big names being Bharat Forge, Wipro, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, Aditya Birla, HCL Technology,TCS, L&T and Tech Mahindra etc.
Friends, I am told that strong institutional mechanism has been established to promote business linkages between the two countries. Our embassy in Sweden as well as Swedish embassy in India are both actively engaged in promoting these economic linkages through organisation of events in host countries. Mechanisms like India-Sweden Business Round Table and Sweden India Business Council are contributing tremendously to this development.
Besides, there exists a range of MoUs and agreements for bilateral cooperation in the fields of Science and Technology, Healthcare, Urban development, Renewable energy, Railways, Polar Science and Defence. What I wish to highlight, is that our bilateral business and Government to Government relations are on a strong institutional footing
India-Sweden defence cooperation MoU, which was signed during the EU-India summit (under Presidency of Sweden) in Nov 2009 has scope for Exchange of expertise, training, logistic and maintenance, Military technical cooperation, Defence industrial and R&D cooperation and Exchange on UN Peace Keeping missions.The Joint Working Group on Defence Cooperation, envisioned in the MoU has also met in Delhi in December 2018. India-Sweden has also signed General Security Agreement in 2019 on the exchange and mutual protection of classified information, enabling a comprehensive partnership in all defence sectors
It is also heartening that, the two prime ministers have reiterated that “Innovation for a more sustainable future” is at the heart of the India-Sweden partnership. Critical areas of cooperation here include renewable energy, health and life sciences, start-ups, manufacturing, smart cities urban transportation, and waste management, each of which is potentially transformational in expanding our ties.
I am glad to mention that over the past few years, the Indian Defence Industry has been galvanized through progressive policy and procedural reforms which have catapulted the Industry to serve not only Indian requirements but also meet global demand. In this direction, FDI liberalization and improved ‘ease of doing businesses’ has already attracted top defence companies of the world and have Joint Ventures in India. Further Government of India has allowed FDI up to 74% through automatic route and up to 100% through Government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology. The technology-centric FDI policy will enable Indian industries to collaborate with Swedish industries in the field of niche and proven military technologies. The ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign envisages the Defence sector to play a major role in India’s economic growth; several policy initiatives have been taken by the Government which aim to create a long-term momentum towards the growth of the Indian Industry
The Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 pushes forward for higher indigenous content and further encourages domestic manufacturing and has provided a strong foundation for India to emerge as the Defence Manufacturing hub. These initiatives pave way for more Swedish-Indian partnerships for ‘Make in India’ and `Make for the World’ under various categories of the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020. Such a partnership model shall also lead to increased participation of Indian vendors in the global supply chain through impetus on indigenization
The easing of FDI regulations and introduction of Buy (Global – Manufacturer in India) in DAP 2020 are invitations for the Foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to participate in the opportunities offered by the Indian Defence industry. The Foreign OEMs can set up manufacturing facilities individually or partner with Indian companies through a JV or technology agreement to capitalize on the ‘Make in India’ opportunity. There is a lot of scope for Sweden and Indian defence Industries for co-production and Co-development. Indian industry can also supply components to Swedish Industries. Swedish Firms such as SAAB already have a major presence in India and I am confident that other Swedish firms will find India as a major investment destination for Defence Manufacturing
India has a vast Defence Industrial Base with 41 Ordnance factories& 9 Defence Public Sector Undertakings and expanding Private Sector Industries supported by an eco-system of over 12000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Indian Defence Industries have expertise over a wide range of high-tech defence systems for air, land, sea and space applications.
The Mission – ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or ‘Self-Reliant India’ of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi is about producing cost-effective quality products and in its core has the motto – ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for the World’
I would like to mention that India has a robust shipbuilding industry with an ecosystem of world-class public and private shipbuilding companies. The ships constructed by Indian Shipyards are of global standards and extremely cost-effective. Both the countries may collaborate in the shipbuilding industry for mutual benefit.
Continuing from our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s address at the India-Sweden Virtual Summit, I once again take this opportunity to invite Swedish firms to invest in the dedicated Defence Corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where they can benefit greatly from the unique incentives being offered by the State Governments and the availability of a highly-skilled workforce in India
Various sessions lined up in the instant webinar, I am sure, will serve as an effective platform to bring the Industries / Govt. officials from both sides together to establish a strong connection for future partnerships and convergence of strategic and commercial interests
I place my sincere appreciation towards the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Swedish Security & Defence Industry Association (SOFF) whose continuous efforts have strengthened our bilateral Industrial Cooperation. I am happy to note that, on this occasion, SIDM and SOFF are signing an MoU to promote bilateral defence Industrial relations wherein a dedicated Joint Working Group will be formed to take forward mutual objectives. I wish both the organisations the very best for this endeavour.
I also congratulate SIDM on launching a Defence Industries Directory named “The SIDM Members Directory: A 360° Overview”. I am pleased to note that this publication lists 437 companies operating in the Indian Defence and Aerospace sector including major public & private organisations; MSMEs and Startups as well. The directory also contains information relating to the latest policies and procedures relating to the defence industry. As India changes gears to become a global hub for Defence manufacturing, I am confident that this publication will significantly enhance the visibility of the Defence Industry champions to their stakeholders including Indian and Foreign Governments, their Defence Forces and the Foreign OEMs.
On behalf of the Government of India, I would like to extend an invitation to a delegation at the highest level from Sweden to India and have a glimpse of Indian defence Industries and Defence Industry Corridors. I am sure that a delegation from Sweden would find many areas of interest for further cooperation
Lastly, I once again thank all the dignitaries who are present here today for their active participation and wish the Webinar a grand success.