Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the decision to raise FDI limit in defence sector to 49 per cent was a “significant step” in establishing indigenous military industry and suggested that any further increase could have created “larger complications domestically”.
“Our assessment of the market is that the 49 per cent FDI limit in the sector, would be a significant step in establishing domestic defence market. The public opinion and Parliament’s opinion in India is ready to accept the proposal that I have made.”
“Other proposals may have created larger complications domestically,” he said.
The Minister was asked if the decision to enhance the FDI limit to 49 per cent from existing 26 per cent was enough.
In an interview with Karan Thapar, Jaitley said the Indian public opinion was “more comfortable” with the proposal to have 51 per cent Indian control over these companies in future.
“I would prefer it to be 51 per cent Indian owned. If I can get technology, capital and manufacturing at 51 per cent Indian ownership, I think the Indian public and political opinion would accept that more comfortably,” he said.
The Minister said the decision on the issue was taken after consultations “with various departments of the Government including the Defence Ministry, the armed forces and everybody has taken a considered view on the issue.”
Asked if reforms in the sector were not to the desired levels, he said, “I have been saying that reforms are the art of the possible.
“Don’t do reforms in a manner that the political system is unwilling to accept it otherwise we will face the situation of multi-brand retail,” he said.