The text of Raksha Mantri’s Concluding Remarks At Ambassadors’ Round Table
It is a matter of great pleasure for me to be with such an august gathering from around the world. Indeed, your presence here today is a validation of our long standing ties of friendship and cooperation. We strongly believe in ‘Athiti Devo Bhawah’ means ‘Guest is God’. On behalf of Ministry of Defence, Government of India, I extend a very hearty welcome to all of you.
Excellencies, We are a peace loving country. We remain committed to peace and stability across the world, we also remain committed to the belief that Self-Reliance and indigenous defence capabilities are the foundations to enduring peace.
I am feeling really glad to share with you all, India has one of the largest defence industrial eco-systems in Asia and we aspire to build further on our strengths. We are one of the few countries in the world which produce a fourth generation Fighter Aircraft, Nuclear Submarine, Main Battle Tank and Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles. Our technological prowess in Information Technology has received international recognition.
Over the years, we have assiduously built up the capabilities in Defence Research and Development, Ordnance factories and Defence PSUs to provide our Armed forces with weapons/ ammunition/ equipment/ platforms and systems that they need for the defence of our country.
The Private sector and Public-Private partnerships through Joint Ventures / Foreign Direct Investment have also joined the national effort in building the domestic defence and aerospace industry.
Now, we want to make India one of the top five countries of the world in defence and aerospace industries, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector fulfilling the objective of Self-Reliance as well as demand of other friendly countries.
‘Aero India 2021’, is our platform to showcase this intent. Since its inception, Aero India has carved out a place for itself and has become a leading international event in the area of showcasing the capabilities of Indian Defence and aerospace industry. Aero India 2021, the 13th edition of the biennial air show and aviation exhibition is scheduled to be held from 03-07 February 2021 in Bengaluru, the capital of the state of Karnataka.
Aero India provides an ideal platform for businesses, decision-makers and policymakers to interact to address common concerns and contribute to global defence and aerospace ecosystem and position India as a defence manufacturing hub.
The previous edition of the Aero India exhibition in 2019 was the largest in Asia with 403 exhibitors (238 Indian and 165 foreign), 61 participating aircrafts and their sponsors. It also witnessed participation from 44 foreign delegations. Aero India 2021 is sure to bring the leading technologies in the aerospace industry under one roof and provide large number of opportunities for government, private manufactures, startups and the entire aerospace industry to do business.
With numerous business events and large number of participants, Aero India will provide the intellectuals and industry new meeting grounds for developing military industrial enterprise. The event is a key forum for business opportunities into manufacturing and digital technology in defence and aerospace industry.
India has one of the world’s largest technically qualified manpower and we do claim to be a force to reckon with in the field of Information Technology. With this infrastructure and human resource, India can prove to be an excellent base for the defence and aerospace industry, for provision of repair, overhaul, maintenance and servicing facilities. It can also become a center for regional distribution and services. This would provide an excellent opportunity for leading companies worldwide to enter into partnerships with established Indian companies for repair, overhaul, maintenance and other services.
‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or Self Reliant India was the centrepiece of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address. There are numerous government reforms which have been announced for ease of business. As part of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ scheme, FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route has been increased from 49% to 74%. Secondly, we have announced import embargo list for 101 items. It provides a great opportunity for our friendly nations to collaborate in design and development with our private industry as well as invest in them.
It has been endeavour of our Government to constantly undertake policy initiatives to attract investments in Defence and Aerospace Industry. The latest being the ‘Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) – 2020’ wherein we have undertaken several measures to boost domestic Defence industry. You will be happy to observe that DAP 2020 has adequately included provisions to encourage FDI to establish manufacturing hubs.
A new category of Buy (global -manufacture in India) has been further introduced in DAP. The new category incorporates `manufacture of the equipment or (Maintenance Repair and Overall) facility for equipment, through foreign company’s subsidiary in India. Further for legacy equipment, we are looking forward to Indigenisation of Imported Spares as a policy.
From design to production, we are trying to make India one of the leading countries of the world in the Defence, Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding sectors with active participation of public and private sector. For fulfilling the twin objectives of self-reliance and exports Ministry of Defence (MoD) has formulated a draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020). It has multiple focus areas such as Investment Promotion, Ease of Doing Business, Innovation, R&D, Quality Assurance & Testing Infrastructure and export promotion. Each of these focus sectors have immense opportunity for all our friendly countries. I would urge the leaders of your Defence Industry to participate in discussions on DPEPP 2020 and provide inputs which would be beneficial for all of us.
Before I conclude, I would like to assure you that we will be strictly adhering to all the requisite protocols to tackle COVID-19. In view of the ongoing pandemic, it has been decided that emphasis will be laid on contactless experience to all exhibitors and visitors. All brochures, literature and signs will be displayed in digital format. Prescribed social distancing norms will be followed. However, to compensate for it, the exhibition duration will be extended by one hour each day.
Great opportunities for a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership between the defence and aerospace industries of the world and India exist. We need to remove impediments coming in the way of our natural alliance in a purposeful and progressive manner and join hands to make this world a more secure, peaceful and prosperous place. The Aero India 2021 can also be utilized for Government to Government level discussions to express concerns and challenges encountered by your Industry. Therefore, I would urge you to spread the awareness on Aero India 2021 and encourage your industry and research organisations to participate in this event and exploit the opportunities.
Thank you again for sparing your time.