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India moving fast from biggest arms importer to major exporter in defence sector: PM Modi

Prime Minister emphasised that the defence sector of India used to be very strong even before independence.




Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Highlighting the development of a new defence ecosystem in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said India is moving fast from being the biggest arms importer to a big exporter in the defence sector.

Speaking at Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) seminar ‘Swavlamban’ at Dr Ambedkar International Centre here. Modi said, “The goal of self-reliance in the Indian forces is very important for the India of the 21st century. Organizing the first self-reliance seminar for a self-reliant navy is an important step in this direction.

Creating 75 indigenous technologies is kind of the first step. We have to work to increase their number continuously. The goal should be that our navy is at an unprecedented height when India celebrates 100 years of its independence.” Prime Minister emphasised that the defence sector of India used to be very strong even before independence. At the time of independence, there were 18 ordnance factories in the country, where many types of military equipment including artillery guns were made. He said then India used to be an important supplier of defence equipment in World War II. “Our howitzers, machine guns made at the Ichhapur Rifle Factory, were considered the best. We used to export a lot. But then what happened that at one point in time we became the world’s biggest importer in this field?” Modi said.

Narendra Modi

He said, “We have given new strength to our public sector defence companies by organizing them in different sectors. Today we are making sure that how we connect our premier institutions like IITs with defence research and innovation.”

The Prime Minister said learning from the approach of the past decades, today a new defence ecosystem is being developed in India. Defence research and development has been opened for the private sector, academia, MSMEs and start-ups.

“In the last 8 years, we have not only increased the defence budget, but we have also ensured that this budget is useful in the development of the defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country itself. Today, a large part of the budget earmarked for the purchase of defence equipment is being spent on procurement from Indian companies. In the last 4-5 years, our defence imports have come down by about 21 per cent. Today we are moving fast from the biggest defence importer to a big exporter,” he emphasised.

Defence sector

As a part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, NIIO, in conjunction with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), aims at inducting at least 75 new indigenous technologies and products into the Indian Navy. This collaborative project is named SPRINT (Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through iDEX, NIIO and TDAC).

The seminar aims to engage Indian industry and academia towards achieving self-reliance in the defence sector. The two-day seminar (July 18-19) will provide a platform for leaders from industry, academia, services and government to come together on a common platform to ideate and come up with recommendations for the defence sector. Sessions dedicated to innovation, indigenisation, armament and aviation will be held.