Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the government does not want to shut itself to the world through its push for Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) but wants international defence companies to manufacture here.
Speaking at an event on Jana Sangh founder Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Singh said “self-reliance is very important in the field of defence”, as a country that depends on imports for its defence needs will “never be strong and self-respecting”. He said “being self-sufficient in the defence sector is linked to the self-respect and sovereignty of our country”.
Singh said India’s entire system is a symbol of openness, and that “self-sufficient India is the name of opening new doors with an open mind”. He said, “Our doors are not closing, but are opening further – the only thing is, manufacture in our house. If you want to make it, then make it in this country.”
The minister questioned the rationale behind importing equipment that are made in India, or can be easily made domestically. Mentioning the government’s slogan “vocal for local”, he said, “We will not only get things made easily in India, but with this encouragement, things will start to be made in India that are not made today.”
Among policy decisions taken by the government recently to encourage domestic defence manufacturing, he mentioned raising the FDI limit through automatic route to 74 per cent, compared to 49 per cent earlier.
The other decision he mentioned was the ‘no-imports’ list announced by him for 101 weapons and platforms. That decision “has led to manufacturing opportunities of Rs 52,000 crore in a year”, he said.
Singh also announced that the government will introduce a new Defence Production and Procurement Policy soon. The government had floated its draft earlier this year and sought feedback from stakeholders.
“The foundation of India’s future rests on the strength of a self-reliant India. From the battlefield to the farms, India should achieve its ability to fulfill its needs,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Singh had met Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who had visited him.
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