Rajnath to modernise IAF, says 'Develop comprehensive capabilities ourselves'

Singh also voiced Centre's desire to encourage private industry investment in the defense sector.

New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that in order to modernise the Indian Air Force there is a need to develop indigenous technology in the defense sector and reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers.

While speaking at the seminar on 'Modernization and Indigenization Plans of Indian Air Force' in New Delhi, the Union Minister said, "There is a sizeable dependency on foreign equipment manufacturers for their subsystems and components. The need of the hour, therefore, is to progressively reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers and develop comprehensive capabilities ourselves."

He also stated that the defense firms of the country have a huge opportunity in contributing to the domestic market in addition to the exports. Singh also voiced Centre's desire to encourage private industry investment in the defense sector.

"For the participation of Indian companies in the defense sector, a slew of measures have been put in place for the investment by private players. Up to 49 per cent of investment is allowed through automatic route and 100 per cent via government route on case to case basis."

"Also, a number of policies have been introduced for the development of defense infrastructure and promote indigenous development. In pursuance with the ‘Make in India’ initiative Buy Indian-IDDM category (Indigenously, Designed, Developed and Manufactured category) is the most preferred category for procurement and it is expected to promote indigenously designed products and bring significant investment," he added.

"We have just approved the proposal for providing test facilities of government entities to the private defense sector. A formal order on the same will soon be issued. This has removed various bottlenecks which used to come in way of using test facilities by private entities," Singh further stated.

The Union Home Minister also urged the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to establish manufacturing facilities for their products in India and invest in the country through Foreign Direct Investment, joint ventures or via defense offset route.

He also informed the gathering that the Central Government has revised defense product list for the purpose of issuing industrial licenses under the Industries Development and Regulation Act, 1951.

"Testing equipment, production of equipment have been removed from the list. This has certainly reduced the entry barriers for the industry, especially the small and medium segment. The initial validity of the industrial license has also been increased from 3 years to 15 years with a provision to the further extend it by 3 years on case to case basis," he added.

Singh also mentioned about Balakot airstrike and stated, "Indian Air Force is a technologically advanced and extremely potent force, the recent offensive strike against terrorist outfits in our neighborhood speaks volumes about the reach and lethality of the formidable arm of the Indian Armed Forces."

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